Victory
Petitioning Animal Control Officer Benjamin Zigan and 9 others

Justice for Yakima Dog Who Died Chained in Snow & Other Washington Pets Left in the Cold

This is a petition for clearer legislation, closer investigation and swifter prosecution of all animal neglect and abuse in the state of Washington. In the memory of our Yakima Boxer, we want to strengthen laws so that our animals' welfare is not left up to interpretation. Our Yakima Boxer's story shows how an aging and ailing dog can be chained out in freezing temperatures to die, suffering and alone, without any consequences to the humans responsible. The City of Yakima and the state of Washington need revised ordinances and legislation to protect our domesticated animals. "Adequate" is too subjective of a term, as our Yakima Boxer's tragic story illustrates. RIP sweet baby.

During the first week of January, 2017 Francisco Rodriguez of Yakima, Washington noticed his landlord's dog wasn't moving on his chain anymore. Reportedly, the dog stayed chained and dead for a few days. The 14-year-old boxer was covered in snow, still chained to his makeshift dog house, dead, when Francisco reported this to Yakima Animal Control.  Animal Control determined that the dog died of old age, without a necropsy, end of story. The dog belonged to Francisco's landlord and Francisco was then told he was evicted.

The community has come to Francisco's aid and helped him with getting into a new place. Now it is time to come to this nameless dog's aid, and not allow his death to go unnoticed. This poor, aging dog was left out in the cold to die, chained and alone. We need to be this Boxer's and all domesticated animals' voice.  Let's prevent this from happening to others. It is time for communities everywhere to be the voice for animals, just as Francisco has been the voice for the Boxer.

Ironically, just after Francisco told his story, KIMA came out with this story reporting that Yakima had received 59 welfare checks on freezing and suffering animals in December. Yet, reportedly, there have been no citations.  Not even for our Yakima Boxer who suffered untold weeks and finally succumbed in old age in the below freezing weather and record snowfall, suffering both animal abuse and elder cruelty.  http://kimatv.com/news/local/up-to-5k-misdemeanor-charge-for-pet-owners-with-neglected-freezing-animals  

Coincidentally, the same week our Yakima Boxer died, Dr. Ernie Ward, the same veterinarian who demonstrated how dogs suffer in hot cars, happened to upload this video to demonstrate the suffering a dog goes through in freezing temperatures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK27edLsZow&feature=youtu.be

Finally, here is what the American Veterinarian Medical Association (and every other pet welfare group) warns about pets in freezing temperatures: "Stay inside. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside... no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather." https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cold-weather-pet-safety.aspx

Yakima's ordinances are identical to state law, both vague in their terms, with little in the way of definition or concrete description. The laws to protect precious lives are much too subjective, too open to interpretation. Yakima County Municipal Code 8.36.200: “It is unlawful for any person to physically abuse any dog or to fail to furnish adequate care, including without limitation water, food, shelter, sanitation, ventilation, rest and medical attention, or to confine a dog with any dangerous dog. Any person found guilty of a violation of this section shall be fined five hundred dollars for each violation.”

We need clearly defined laws to protect our animal family members in every county of every state so that the laws cannot be loosely interpreted and not enforced.

Adequate care must be clearly defined. Every state, county, city ordinance should provide concrete temperature restrictions, both hot and cold, if they truly care for domesticated animals' welfare. These temperature guidelines are available for extreme weather. https://www.gopetplan.com/uploads/media/34/how_cold_is_too_cold.png Some states use the National Weather Service extreme weather alerts for laws for bringing pets inside, others have set a 20 degree and below restriction. http://patch.com/maryland/annapolis/1-000-fine-possible-pet-owners-who-leave-animals-outside

Adequate shelter must also be defined. A makeshift box is not adequate shelter. Dog houses should be weather proof as much as possible. They should be off the ground and have at least a heavy flap door. Temperatures should be maintained above the freezing level. According to Maryland law linked above, "A dog house, shed, garage or other large area that has temperatures that reach below 33 degrees’ Fahrenheit inside is too large to allow a dog to maintain adequate body temperature to sustain life will be considered insufficient."

Robert Pregulman of Seattle Dog Spot provides an excellent and thorough telling of what Francisco endured and what animal control's response was here. http://www.seattledogspot.com/dog-news/yakima-county-man-kicked-home-reported-landlords-dog-froze-death/

Francisco Rodriguez did what every citizen should do. Report suspected animal abuse. He has bravely stood up to many an attack since posting, including threats of unlawful eviction.  Thankfully, he has a community of supporters, from Robert Pregulman and Seattle Dog Spot to the people who run and belong to both Sharing & Caring Lost & Found Pets Yakima County and Yakima Valley Lost and Found Pets on Facebook. Thank you. We all need community members like Francisco and his supporters who all volunteer time for our communities. 

We need our elected officials to be just as caring. Please listen to our loud voices for our voiceless community members!

 

 

 

This petition was delivered to:
  • Animal Control Officer
    Benjamin Zigan
  • Medical Director Yakima Humane Society
    Jennifer Fitzpatrick, DVM
  • State Senator
    Curtis King
  • State Representative
    Norm Johnson
  • State Representative
    Gina McCabe
  • Governor
    Jay Inslee
  • Mayor, City Of Yakima
    Kathy Coffey
  • Executive Director, Yakima Humane Society
    Vaughn Merry
  • President of Board of Directors, Yakima Humane Society
    Amy Maib
  • Representative
    Dan Newhouse


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