I'd like to talk about two dogs that I know, whose owners aren't doing a good job of caring for them. In my eyes, these dogs are neglected and badly looked after, but sadly in the eyes of my country, as long as the animal is healthy, there's nothing wrong.
The first dog is a female chocolate Labrador called Kalou, belonging to the family of one of my friend's neighbours. She's a year and a half old, full of energy and is one of the friendliest dogs I know, she's absolutely lovely. Her family adopted her when she was two months old, after their previous yellow Lab passed away. Their previous dog was apparently incredibly calm (well he would be, he was 15 years old), perfectly behaved around the house and in his last years, didn't need many walks.
Unfortunately, they obviously didn't think about the fact that, unlike their previous dog, Kalou was a young bouncy puppy that needed lots of exercise and lots of training. They took her to 5 puppy classes, then gave up because she "wasn't making any progress". They also only walked her twice to three times a week. They then concluded that she was too energetic to live inside (they are an incredibly rich family with a huge house filled with expensive designer things), so they banished her to the garden when she was 6 months old. After she escaped the garden twice, they decided to tie her up. For the past year, she's now been spending all her days on a 6m rope tied to a tree, next to a small kennel. She's only let in the garage in the evenings to be fed, then she's put into an empty crate that's too small for her for the night.
I was asked to dog-sit her once and when I suggested taking her for a walk, the owners laughed and said "Ooh she'll be happy about that, she doesn't get many of those!". They also told me how she couldn't possibly come inside as she's too "feisty" (meaning "she has too much pent-up energy because we've done hardly anything with her for the past year.")
I spent almost the whole day outside with her, I bought some treats and we did some training, she learnt to sit, to lie down and she started getting the hang of loose-leash walking. She's a bright girl, she would be so easy and fun to train, if her owners were willing to put a bit of time and effort into it. She isn't scared of anything, she's so confident. Maybe I'm pushing it saying this, but I honestly believe that in the right hands, she could even have been a service dog or something like that, she truly has incredible potential that her owners are just throwing away. She's also so affectionate and it breaks my heart that she has to live outside the way she does, where she gets hardly any human contact.
I've talked to my friend about it and she just got very defensive of them, saying that they really loved Kalou and that Kalou had everything she needed. She doesn't though, she hardly ever gets human contact (it's a miracle she's as social as she is), she has no training, she rarely gets exercise, she spends hours tied to a rope by her collar, the area where she's tied up stinks and is never cleaned, if it rains she's standing in mud,... These are the sort of people that really make me angry, they want a dog for "companionship" but they never mention what they'll provide for the dog in return.
My heart is breaking for this dog and I don't know if I'm over reacting or not. Another of my friends, a fervent dog-lover like me, has suggested reporting them, but a case like this would go unnoticed, as the dog is healthy and is fed. Please tell me what you think.
The second dog is a 5 month-old female Beagle called Clem and she lives a few streets away from me. Their family got a dog for their son who is depressed as they thought it might help. However, it doesn't seem as if anyone in the family has the slightest interest in the poor girl, and neither of them has done any research about how to look after or train a dog. The father of the family is a very stern, nasty guy. I met him and the dog for the first time when Clem was three months old. He had her off leash on the path where I was walking my Golden Retriever Inja so we stopped to say hello. When Inja and I walked off, the little Beagle started following us. The owner started yelling at her to "come here immediately!" so I stopped to let him catch up with us and collect his dog. When he reached us, his dog darted away again so he charged after her, explaining to me that "she knows she's about to be punished so she's running away." He then caught her and lifted her by the scruff of her neck and started spanking her shouting that "You're not allowed to do that!", "You know that!", "You have to obey me!". Before I could do anything, he shoved his puppy in my dog's face and told her "Look at him! He's obeying, take example from him!". I tried to tell the man as nicely as possible (after all, Positive reinforcement works on humans too) that what he was doing was unnecessary and tried to explain to him how I trained Inja and how dogs learn best, but he told me that I didn't know his dog, she has massive issues (she's a three month old puppy???) and I'm just an 18 year-old who knows nothing, before picking up his dog and walking home.
Two months later, and he hasn't walked his dog since. Clem is now 5 months old, lives in the garden where no one pays attention to her. Once a day, she's let out the front door because "she has to learn to walk herself." I sometimes meet her whilst walking my dog and she follows us around. Again, she's such a sweet little dog and she deserves better. I get really scared for her, as she lives near a main road. I fear every day that she might go the wrong way and get hit by a car. I've talked to other dog-owners in my neighbourhood and they don't think it's a problem, "it's their dog, they can treat it the way they want".
Sorry for this very long thread, I really needed to rant about this.