Lucky, the dog that had been confined in a basement for most of his life, has now been returned to his owners due to insufficient evidence of abuse. Despite photographs of the property and testimonials from neighbours, the King County Regional Animal Services and the Prosecuting Attorney's Office have stated that there are insufficient grounds for criminal charges and have returned Lucky to his owners.
Please protest against this decision and insist that Lucky's owners be charged with animal cruelty !
Even though the veterinary report states that Lucky appeared to be in good physical health , it is undeniable that he suffered mental trauma from the stress of isolation and confinement, which is supported by reports of his incessant barking (dating back to 2008). Dogs are social animals - any dog who is left alone risks becoming anti-social and even aggressive, showing neurotic behavior. Obsessive barking, when left alone, is a serious sign that the dog was indeed suffering either from separation anxiety, boredom, or frustration over being left alone or from loneliness and lack of socialization due to isolation. Purposely leaving a dog alone locked in a basement for such long periods constitutes nothing short of animal cruelty, as it endangers the mental welfare of the animal.
Lucky was living amid his feces. Witnesses have vouched for the unsanitary conditions of the basement. According to the released reports, the feces was confined to areas that appeared to be cleaned regularly. According to a statement made by the daughter of the family, the owners were quite aware that Lucky defecated in the basement, but the basement was cleaned "once a month". The accumulation of feces and urine in the animal's environment will have created a significant odor that will have made it unpleasant for Lucky to breathe, and very likely in some instances even difficult to breathe. Feces in the surrounding will have inhibited Lucky's movement in the already-cramped confinement of the basement, as he will have tried to avoid contact with the feces. This accumulation may have also easily resulted in the spread of infectious disease, wherein the owners also jeopardized Lucky's health by not acting on the unsanitary conditions.
Lucky was, according to the veterinary examination, well-fed and hydrated, which is contrary to testimonials from neighbours, stating that Lucky was only fed every 2-3 days and did not have any access to a water source of any kind. Dogs should be fed preferably twice a day and should always have a bowl of fresh water available.
The unsanitary conditions of the basement and irregular feedings should give enough cause for an intervention in order to ensure the welfare of this animal. All the above points clearly constitute neglect. Failure to provide humane care is punishable under the King County Code. The owners have been incapable of providing for Lucky's needs and should be held accountable for the suffering Lucky has endured due to their negligence.
I strongly object the return of Lucky to his owners. His welfare is put at risk if he remains in this home. Lucky must be placed in a foster home or an animal sanctuary, and placed in the care of people who will be capable of meeting all his requirements, including the basic need of companionship and love.