My Dawg vs Dog
July 4, 2008 2:44 PM   Subscribe

I have friends that seem to neglect a dog almost to the point of abuse. What should I do?

First off, let me say I ABHOR dogs. I can't stand them. Everytime I see one, I think "nasty, poop eaters".

I didn't write that to put 90% of the population off your dogloving mood. I do have a point to it.

Even though I do not like dogs, I do have a heart: for real, I do.

I have friends who are a newlywed couple. We all live in our own respective apartments in NYC (read: small). I don't know whats up with them, but even though they had been living together for more than a year, they decided to get a dog after they got married. Great. F'in great.

It was all fine and dandy, till I got calls every so often saying "Jimmy needs to be walked...can you take him out? He hasn't been out since 5 in the morning, and we're going to come home at 8pm". Dang. I have no choice (unless I want this animal to suffer), so I walk the dog.

I do this on a pretty regular basis now. I STILL hate dogs, but I don't have an option; the dog did NOTHING wrong. Why should I let it suffer.

Its about a 40-60 lb dog, and its young, like almost 2 years old. I have no idea what breed, but its pretty big and I get chicks AND DUDES left and right coming over to pet the dog because they love it. Weird ass dog-lovers. I'm on permanent dog duty because I live close by, and they work TONS. I'm talking TONS. One is away from the house for about 14 hours of the day, and the other is WAY MORE into their work.

They stopped asking me to walk their dog a few months ago, and I figured "oh cool, dog problem all solved". I figured they worked out their work schedule so they wouldnt have to worry about leaving the dog alone so damn much. Didn't give it another thought.

So last week, I got another call, and of course, I obliged. I came into their apartment, and DAMN!!!!!

Dog food spread out everywhere (naughty, dog), pee stains on the carpet, 4 big chunks of fresh poo on the carpet, TONS of poo stains on the carpet all over the place. This has ALL been done in the course of the last few months when they stopped asking me to walk the dog.


I talked to them about this saying "Say...a LOT of people have come up to me offering to buy the dog for $2,000 on the spot(yeah, crazy but true). They seem like they can REALLY care for it, and maybe it would be best for Jimmy." They responded with "Well...we spend time with the dog on weekends...unless we go away". They go away 3 out of every 4 damn weekend. I am on dog duty then too.

I HATE dogs...but I find myself going over to their apartment every chance I get to change its water (GROSS), fill its bowl up with food, and give it a snack for walking without dragging me all over the place. I HATE dogs, but I feel so sad for this dog, I can't help but be nice to it.

Its behavior has also changed DRASTICALLY. Before, I used to have to open the door very quietly, and come in so that it wouldn't come to the door and try to maul me to get out. Now, its scared. When I come in, it cowers a little...and is scared. After I make the "hey jimmy jimmy" sounds, it finally comes, but god damn its attitude has changed. When I leave, I hear it crying or something. ITS THE SADDEST THING EVER...and I HATE DOGS!!!

I hate dogs, I just cant stand animals suffering.

What can I do? This dog needs care, the owners aren't caring for it. Talking to them is USELESS. They TOTALLY avoid the issue like NOBODY'S BUSINESS! Upon confrontation, they TOTALLY switch subjects. Its really messed up.

Few quick details:

1. The building that they live in allows dogs up to 25 lbs ONLY. This dog is WAYYYY over limite. They could get evicted if that happens.

2. Also, I didn't mention how it continues to need medicine since it gets "sick" so often...which they do NOT administer as directed.

3. I'm pretty damn confrontational. I confronted them about it, and they REFUSE to do anything. They just see it as a "yeah, its sad that we aren't home to take care of jimmy more often...speaking of, we're gonna go skiing this weekend, can you take it out for a walk?"

4. There is NO talking to them. I feel I have to report them, or have their dog taken away or something. They will do nothing.

5. I know a few other people who have dogs in seemingly small apartments. Those dogs, are cared for, loved, and HAPPY. I know the difference between a happy dog...and a dog that is being neglected to the point of abuse.

WHAT SHOULD I DO, doglovers???

Oh, I have to be totally anonymous here because well...they're my friends, and I feel like a narc. I don't even know who I could narc to that would do something.
posted by hal_c_on to Pets & Animals (49 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Call 311 / Animal Control.
posted by youcancallmeal at 2:52 PM on July 4, 2008

This FAQ will probably answer any lingering questions, but it sounds to me like you already know what you have to do - Report them. Call the local ASPCA or Humane Society ASAP.
posted by namewithoutwords at 2:54 PM on July 4, 2008

Mind your own business. Make new friends.
posted by Julia F***ing Sugarbaker at 2:54 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

According to the ASPCA link:

Animal cruelty occurs when someone intentionally injures or harms an animal or when a person willfully deprives an animal of food, water or necessary medical care

It doesn't sound like that is what is happening here. You have attempted to talk to your friends and they were not interested in seeing things your way. Leave them alone, it's really not your business.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:57 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

TPS- It is being deprived of medical care. "2. Also, I didn't mention how it continues to need medicine since it gets "sick" so often...which they do NOT administer as directed."
posted by youcancallmeal at 2:59 PM on July 4, 2008

Animal's hurting. Report.

I'd do it for a cat. And I hate cats.

(Your writing is weird. I think I'm infected.)
posted by Leon at 3:01 PM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Some people have vastly different ethics where animals are concerned. This isn't a clear case of abuse. It's a clear case of you discovering you don't like your friend as much as you thought.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 3:09 PM on July 4, 2008

Best answer: Report them, I think you knew that anyway. Do it anoymously if you wish from the viewpoint of a concerned neighbour.
posted by Static Vagabond at 3:10 PM on July 4, 2008

Give them phone numbers for a professional dog walker and a housekeeping service. Refuse to be their fallback guy from here on out.
posted by jamaro at 3:10 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

Mind your own business.

A dog that cowers when you enter is probably being hit. Don't listen to the advice above. Besides, who the hell wants to live in a piss and shit stained apartment, you'd be doing them a favour.

I do think you should make new friends though.
posted by twistedonion at 3:11 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

Or if you can't do it anoymously, try doing it anonymously. damn fingers...
posted by Static Vagabond at 3:12 PM on July 4, 2008

If you meant to anonymize this, that didn't happen. You say you need to be as anonymous as possible, so I thought I ought point that out.

Well, first, you could recommend to them strongly that they hire a dogwalker and mention to them that stained and smelly apartments don't generally result in the return of a full security deposit.

That said, you talk alot about hating dogs. Alot. Lots of hating dogs. But I'm getting a whiff of caring alot about this particular dog. I'm a cat person through and through, but there are one or two dogs that have stolen my heart along the way. I'm positing that maybe that's happened in this instance and it's causing you alot of odd strife because, you know, you just hate dogs so much.

So, if you do care about the dog and want it's quality of life to improve, you might go way out on a limb and talk to your friends about adopting it. How you do this is up to you, but if you want to salvage the friendship, I'd avoid being too accusatory about what crappy pet owners they are. And they are crappy, IMO - I've seen plenty of people in small apartments take great care of their dogs. Others, not so great. Unfortunately, some people see their dog as an accessory rather than a sentient being that is attached to them and deserves, if only for that reason alone, to be treated with love and respect.

If you're not willing to take on the dog yourself and have this conversation with your friends, then I'm afraid your only alternative is to turn a blind eye to their behavior and ask to be compensated for being their dogwalker, continue to walk their dog and feel put out about it, or hire a dogwalking service yourself and foot the bill. Or stop walking the dog altogether and keep your distance from if it upsets you to know they treat their animal this way. Good luck.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 3:12 PM on July 4, 2008

The next time you are asked to walk the dog, take it to the SPCA in a different part of the city or to someone who will actually care for the dog.

Tell the couple he got off his leash and ran away.

I can't believe I'm giving this advice, but that is probably what I would do. Calling in authorities could get ugly. This is a little white lie and it doesn't sound like they would be heartbroken.

I disagree with the pink superhero. This IS neglect in my books. Would you let a child live in its own crap? Yes, a dog is not a child, but they deserve better than that.
posted by Brodiggitty at 3:18 PM on July 4, 2008 [14 favorites]

Your friends suck. This is not really good advice, but what I'd like to see you do would be to just sell or give the dog to one of the many people who are apparently fawning over it when you walk him, then just tell your friends that he ran off when you walked him. The dog would no longer be your problem, your friends seem like they wouldn't even care much, and the dog doesn't have to go through the trauma of being picked up by Animal Control and stuck in a shelter waiting to be adopted.

Your friends are being shitty friends by taking advantage of you and shitty people by not living up to their responsibilities. You, and the dog, don't deserve their neglect.
posted by booknerd at 3:26 PM on July 4, 2008 [5 favorites]

Oops! On preview: Yeah, what Brodiggitty said.
posted by booknerd at 3:29 PM on July 4, 2008

b) I feel like a narc - OMG MY FRIENDS WILL THINK I AM A NARC

cowboy up and report. Warn your friends first. A living creature depends on it. Caring too much about what others think of you to the point of allowing suffering is a very serious failing, I'm sorry to say.

Are these friends in a position of power over you? I wonder if this is the case because they seem to be taking advantage of you.

You will feel MUCH better, and have more freedom and power, for doing the right thing.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:30 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Is the dog's coat matted or on its way there? (See the photo on the left, if you don't know what that means - that's an extreme case of matting.) Nails overgrown, such that it has difficulty walking?

Those are also aspects of failure to provide adequate care, which would tip the scales further in the direction of "have the ASPCA pay them a visit".
posted by CKmtl at 3:32 PM on July 4, 2008

Your friends are assholes.

Adopt the dog, if you can, and let them walk him for you when they are home.

Or "lose" the dog when you are on duty -- "He got away. Sorry, dude. I'll help you look for him." -- but the dog is already in Connecticut with new owners.

Your friends are assholes.
posted by pracowity at 3:32 PM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

I know you say you're confrontational but I think you should be more persistent with them. I mean sit down, serious talk, in person type thing. When the dog isn't an issue (for example, not when they're calling you to ask you for help.) The dog's well-being is at least as important as that. Don't let them just say "Oh, well we hang out on the weekend..." Follow up with dates they've been away. Show pictures of the mess when you've dropped by. Tell them that you feel they are neglecting the dog. Get them to understand how serious you feel this is.

You may lose their friendship over this, but to be honest they sound like total assholes anyway. Be the doggie's voice.
posted by loiseau at 3:33 PM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

Great minds think alike, booknerd. And you justified it better than I did. Trauma is avoided for dog. I bet the friends wouldn't even check shelters or put up posters from what I've read in the question. There's also the chance the dog will be put to sleep rather than adopted if you just take him to the SPCA.
posted by Brodiggitty at 3:34 PM on July 4, 2008

The next time you are asked to walk the dog, take it to the SPCA in a different part of the city

I bet the friends wouldn't even check shelters or put up posters from what I've read in the question.

Or they do, and they find the people you sold the dog to, and you get busted for stealing their dog. Incredibly irresponsible advice.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:40 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

I would adopt it then rehome it without informing them of my intentions.

posted by sondrialiac at 3:41 PM on July 4, 2008

I wouldn't go so far as to sell the dog behind their back, but if you gave them the contact info of a specific person who wanted to buy the dog for a specific price (and possibly a time to meet and do the deal), you can probably get them to sell the dog themselves.

And then get some new friends. They don't seem to respect anything other than themselves.
posted by mkultra at 3:48 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

Maybe tell them about parttime or shared pet ownership. I heard about this a while ago and NYC seems like just the kind of place for it: msnbc article on shared ownership/rent-a-pet.
posted by Listener at 3:55 PM on July 4, 2008

Is this dog a breed? Get in touch with the local rescue group for the breed and see what their ideas are. They have dealt with this situation before.

Also, if the dog is too big for the apartment and making a mess, neighbors are likely to complain and then animal control will take the dog away and that could get bad for the dog fast.

Nice for your friends that they can afford to go skiing and cannot afford professional dog care.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:26 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

It seems like these people like having the dog, or at least like the idea of having a dog. So if you give it away behind their back there's a good chance they'll just get another one. So don't do that, instead let them know exactly how much this sucks.

You need to be more blunt. Tell them straight up that what they're doing is unacceptable and borderline abuse. No pussy footing around, no weasel words, tell them it sucks and is not fair to the dog and they shouldn't be acting like this. Tell them that you will no longer enable them (because that's what you've been doing) and will also no longer stand by while they do it. Give them phone numbers for a dog walker, doggy day care and dog training place and tell them how often they should be using these services. Personally I'd then follow it up with reporting them to their landlords if they don't buck up their act, being given the choice of giving away the dog or losing their apartment may make them give the dog away, but that may be more vindictive than you want.

There's a chance they may never talk to you again after this. It seems that this dog's welfare is important enough for you to take that chance. It's the only way you'll get through though, tell them what you really think of them and their behaviour.
posted by shelleycat at 4:27 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

You say that you have tried to confront them about this. What did you say? These are your friends, and from your post I am getting the sense that you do not want to offend them or challenge them too much. I'm guessing that you've said something along the lines of, "Gee whiz, guys, I'm a little concerned that Rover is left alone sometimes and that the house is a little messy. Whaddaya think?" You need to take the kid gloves OFF. Tell them that the way they are treating their dog fits the definition of neglect to a t, that their house is a fucking pigsty, that they are irresponsible assholes for getting a dog that they can not and will not care for properly, and that even you, a dog hater, thinks that no dog deserves to live this horrible of a life. That people who treat their children like this go to jail. If somehow this magically makes them change their ways, great. I have a feeling that it won't, so I think you have two options: offer to help them find the dog a new, loving home (while making them promise to never get another dog, ever), or to report them, as others have said.
posted by kitty teeth at 4:28 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

At the very least, call the ASPCA in NYC, explain the situation, and ask for advice. Whatever they tell you, sleep on it. The next day, do what you know you have to do. You may "hate dogs" but you clearly don't hate THIS dog. I wish you luck.

Your friends are douchebags.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:29 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

In other words, what shelleycat said.
posted by kitty teeth at 4:29 PM on July 4, 2008

Yeah, accidental run away dog time. Pity when that happens. Amazing those critters can get all the way from NYC to NJ or CT.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:39 PM on July 4, 2008

"Lose" the dog while it's still adoptable. Its cowering and such will only get worse. And lose the "friends," too. If they get another dog, immediately report it to the landlord.
posted by PatoPata at 4:52 PM on July 4, 2008

Do not steal their dog. Or "steal" it, or "lose" it or any other bullshit.

Not without having tried -something- else first. While fun in a "flaming sword of justice meets made for TV movie" kind of way, it simply makes you just as much of an asshole as your (former. I hope) friends. Plus if the dog is chipped (required in a lot of places) they'll call the owners when it enters any animal shelter and you will be stone cold busted.

Don't be as irresponsible as the clods who own the dog. There are a lot of other good suggestions here that don't involve lying and stealing.
posted by Ookseer at 4:56 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

TPS is right in this aspect. (As is Ookseer, on preview.)

You could be busted criminally and/or civilly for the cost of the dog. If your friends know your MeFi username, and their dog actually does get lost while in your care during one of their weekend jaunts, how do you think that'll look?

There are above the board ways of re-homing the dog. If the ASPCA looks into it and sees partial neglect, they will usually tell the owners what needs to be done care-wise. If the owners opt to keep the dog (rather than giving it up right then, because they know they can't care for it), and on follow-ups those things haven't been addressed/corrected, the ASPCA can go about seizing the dog.
posted by CKmtl at 5:18 PM on July 4, 2008

Just stop walking the dog. "Can you walk....blah blah blah?" Your answer: No. Sorry, no. On my way out. No. It's your dog, not my responsibility, sorry, no. If they don't get the hint and keep asking, you can point out that their apartment is disgusting, and you're not participating in helping them neglect their dog further.

And call the ASPCA for advice on reporting them. But as much as it sucks to be aware that a dog is being neglected next door, stop enabling them.
posted by desuetude at 5:47 PM on July 4, 2008

Response by poster: God, I'm an idiot. I thought I submitted this anonymously. I think this is the FIRST question I'm reading where EVERYBODY who answered has contributed something I could take.

So this is what I'm going to do:

1. Smarten up and learn to post things anonymously.

2. Write out a page of supporting evidence. Dog's condition, general health, behavior, dates, etc. I'm sure ASPCA, et al have received TONS of callers with "Like, oh my god...can you take this dog away, the owner said "shutup" to the dog". I want to be sure that if I call, something is done.

3. Get better friends. Realize that my superiority complex does not always extend to my friends. They are D-Bags, aren't they?

4. I'm not going to "LOSE" the dog. I'll try doing this through channels that don't involve lying/stealing.

5. Yeah, I do need to man up. I should care less of what they think. ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

I'll post a report sometime early next week of what was done.

Thanks MeFits, I love this place.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:54 PM on July 4, 2008 [5 favorites]

A dog that cowers when you enter is probably being hit.

Most definitely. I'm going to chime in with the others and ask you to give this dog to the SPCA or one of those folks who offered to buy it as soon as possible, and say he ran away.
posted by Koko at 5:59 PM on July 4, 2008

I'm not going to "LOSE" the dog. I'll try doing this through channels that don't involve lying/stealing.

Well, ok then ... seems like you're going to do the right thing :)
posted by Koko at 6:01 PM on July 4, 2008

What you describe is animal cruelty. Do not follow the advice of people who tell you to mind your own business. IMO, it puts them in the same class as your friends. Do the right thing.
posted by little miss s at 6:21 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Good luck and good decision, hal_c_on. Do post a report and good on you for caring.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 6:28 PM on July 4, 2008

My brother has a house dog and a yard dog. Poor yard dog is there to scare off predators. Compared to the house dog, his life is shit. But he gets fed and probably does better than he could on his own. Do you have a better life in mind for your friend's dog?
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:13 PM on July 4, 2008

You may really hate dogs, but you really like this one. Have a good sit down with yourself and figure out if you want to adopt and keep him as your new best friend.

A dog that cowers when you enter is probably being hit.

I have spent 10 years as a volunteer rehabilitator of abused dogs, and my experience is that no dog cowers unless it is being hit by it's owners/sitter/trainer.
posted by zarah at 7:23 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is an awesome opportunity to practice honest (if difficult) communication about hard issues. Bonus: you can risk a friendship with D-bags, and you save a sentient being in the meantime.

Do this.
posted by Riverine at 8:47 PM on July 4, 2008

(Hey, my un-abused but shy greyhound cowers from strangers on the street when they approach, groping with their giant sweaty primate hands -- but she's friendly indoors, when off-leash in parks and when approached by people she knows. I agree no dog should hide like that in their own environment.)
posted by nev at 9:07 PM on July 4, 2008

Yup... this dog needs you to stand up for it since it can't stand up for itself and has done nothing wrong. Poor thing.

I keep thinking that I hope this couple doesn't breed. If they care for a dog that way? Jesus, what a CPS nightmare their prospective kids lives are set to be.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:07 PM on July 4, 2008

Halcyon, thanks for doing the right thing.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:26 AM on July 5, 2008

Get the names and numbers of people offering to buy the dog. Call them, and say," look, the dog is totally trashing your place, and needs more attention. Want to solve your problem and get paid?"
posted by theora55 at 4:59 AM on July 5, 2008

Seconding BrotherCaine said - thanks for doing the right thing!

Also, I bet the mods could still make this anonymous if that's still useful to you - email 'em.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:23 AM on July 5, 2008

If they do work TONS they should be able to afford a dogwalker. In New York City dogwalkers charge $12-$15 for half-hour walks. I don't know where in California you are, but if it's SoCal the immigrant population lowers the price of all such personal service businesses, so it should be even cheaper.

Tell them you are unable to guaranty you can walk the dog in the future, and tell them they need a dogwalker because doing otherwise is cruel to the dog. (And could result in messes or destructive behavior -- throw that in in case they care more about their stuff than the dog.)

If they get a dogwalker/sitter, great. If they don't, they sound like cheap thoughtless bastards and you should (a) avoid them, and (b) report them.
posted by skywhite at 6:40 AM on July 7, 2008

We need an update!
posted by triggerfinger at 3:18 PM on July 25, 2008

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