My husband and I stole our neighbor's dog last night

@spalladino (17925)
United States
February 5, 2009 2:10pm CST
I live in south Florida. It doesn't normally get cold down here but we've recently been hit by the artic blasts that have managed to sink down this far. Last night was supposed to be the worst yet...temperatures were expected to go down into the 20's, with the wind chill making it feel as cold as 24 degrees. Every time it gets cold I worry about the dog who lives under the back porch of the trailer on the other side of my property. It belongs to my husband's brother, is very old and basically an eyesore but he's been letting this young friend of one of his son's live in it for about a year now. The guy is rarely there and the life this dog has been living just breaks my heart. He's a young pit bull...very sweet and very quiet. Just sits there waiting for someone...anyone...to give him some attention or food...which I do from time to time. He's never walked or played with, just sits there in the dirt under the porch day after day. But, since he wasn't my dog I tried to mind my own business for the most part. Until yesterday. I was worried about that dog being able to survive the cold last night when he only had a little wooden shelter and is bone thin. I asked two of my nephews to try to reach John to tell him that he needs to bring the dog in for the night. Both tried and John didn't answer them. So, when my husband and I got home at 10:00 last night he went over there to check on the dog. It was 35 degrees and windy and there he was sitting there in the dark and the cold. So, he took him. When he brought him into our house I was shocked by the condition of this dog. We can see every rib, his spine is very visible as are his hip and shoulder bones. The picture below doesn't do justice to the condition of this dog but that's a rib bone sticking out on his side. His collar was so tight that I couldn't get my finger between it and his throat so I loosened it. We fed him and he ate like he hadn't eaten in days. It took him a little while to get used to us. He's not socialized so at first he'd duck his head when we tried to pet him. After awhile he bacame more relaxed, tried to play with our little dog who hates him (he's bigger than her), came to us to be petted, wandered around our house a bit and discovered the two really ticked off cats. When we went to bed I put him in the bathroom, which has a rug, with a bowl of water and he didnt make a sound all night. So, now it's after 3:00 in the afternoon and so far John hasn't noticed that his dog's gone. When he does eventually notice and, if he comes over to talk to us about him, I'm going to try to convince him to just let us keep him. I don't want to start a fight...John is a family friend as I have said...but, one way or another, this dog is going to receive better care. That's why I took pictures of him. I'm going to let John know that this is unacceptable treatment...it's neglect...and that I will take my pictures to Animal Services if necessary. I guess we broke the law by stealing the dog but both my husband and I felt that we had to do something last night and, now that we have him, we're not willing to return him to the same miserable conditions. Any thoughts out there on this situation? Should we have left him to fend for himself and minded our own business?
12 people like this
42 responses
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Your picture did not post, so maybe you can add it here. I think that had I been in your situation I probably would have done the same thing. That poor dog is being mistreated. I hope John lets you guys keep him so he will be properly cared for.
4 people like this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Another shot of the dog - Here's another shot of the dog.
Thanks for the offer lilybug, here's another picture of the poor thing. If John doesn't want to let us keep the dog he's going to have to treat him better and at least he'll know that we're watching and ready to step in if he doesn't.
4 people like this
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Oh, that poor thing! Look at that rib sticking out like that.
3 people like this
• United States
5 Feb 09
I accidently looked at the pic in the other discussion first stealing that dog was the best thing that the has probably ever happened to that dog you absolutely did the right thing I dont think that dog would have lasted much longer where he was its a shame how some people neglect animals like that
4 people like this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
5 Feb 09
The dog we stole from the neighbor - This dog is so thin that his ribs are almost sticking out though his skin. This is no way to treat an animal.
I couldn't agree with you more. I have no sympathy for people who neglect ther animals. Because I live in the country there are lots of folks who have working dogs...who are not pets...but even they make sure they are fed and have proper shelter from the cold.
3 people like this
@peedielyn (1210)
• United States
5 Feb 09
The humane society wouldn't look--nor would the cops--look at it as you stealing an animal. Charges could be brought up on John had you not done this, so you killed 2 birds with one stone. Let it be known that when a dog of that status is starving they get meaner. Someone could have gotten bit. You did a good thing. Good luck with the dog.
4 people like this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
5 Feb 09
We never would have taken him if we weren't familiar with him and didn't know his temperment. My nephew has a pit who's nice inside their home but aggressive when he's in his pen outside so I know not to go near him when he's anyplac other than his own house. This dog is still young and apparently has a good temperment to start with so even all that neglect didn't change him.
4 people like this
@camomom (7536)
• United States
5 Feb 09
You did the right thing. I would have called the humane society too though or atleast sent in the pictures with an anonymous note. I hope things work out for the dog and you get to keep him. Poor thing
3 people like this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Thanks camomom. The only reason I don't call Animal Services is because I'm afraid they'll take custody of him and then we would have to adopt him. I don't want him to go through another relocation and I think he'd be pretty scared.
2 people like this
@camomom (7536)
• United States
6 Feb 09
I didn't think of that. Great point. I think I'd do the same.
2 people like this
• United States
6 Feb 09
You shouldn't think of yourself as a Dog napper, I would call you a dog Saver. Animals deserve respect like people and as long as you respect them they are loyal.. That dog probably looks upon you and your husband as his guardian angels who swooped down in the cold of night and rescued and fed him. As for the love he will probably eat it up for awhile and then will settle in to your family routine. I rescue animals all of the time. You wouldn't believe some of the horror stories I have to tell. God bless people like you and your husband who had the nerve to step in before it was way to late. So don't feel guilty take pride in knowing you prevented a more tragic outcome from coming about. Best Wishes to your family and its new addition.
@Amberina (1541)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Take the dog, no judge in the land will ever convict you for stealing it. You are a very good person to take on the dog. It was not recieving very good care at home so I think it's in a far better place, and is much happier I'm sure.
3 people like this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
5 Feb 09
It's almost 6:30 and so far no sign of John and no calls from anyone about the dog. My husband said he had no food or water over there last night so who knows when he was fed last but, if he wasn't with us, he would have gone hungry all day today.
3 people like this
@mrsl2008 (635)
5 Feb 09
I'll keep it short & sweet, as the responses you've had already contain my thoughts as I read your post. It was the right thing to do and if you keep him, he will be the most loyal pet you've ever had. Hope you do get to keep him.
3 people like this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Thanks, mrsl. He seems like a really nice dog and so happy to be around people. We can't take a step without tripping over him.
2 people like this
@ZephyrSun (7385)
• United States
5 Feb 09
More whining about the cold? It was -7 this morning when I woke up. I wish I was your neighbor because I would give you my cat. I am responding by email so I haven't see the dog but if I were you I would call the animal control or whatever you have down there for animal welfare. I don't think that this man would call the police on you for stealing his dog because he would probably get into trouble for the dogs condition. I don't know much about pitbulls because they are very controlled in my county and there are so many restrictions on them that I don't know anyone that has one. Good luck with your new pet and I'm sure the cats will get over it.
3 people like this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Ewwww, -7? Brrrrrrr! I'm sure John won't call the police. He's living in my husband's brother's old trailer for free so he knows better than to mess up. Eventually he'll contact the nephew who used to live there and who is their friend. They now live in a house nearby so he'll want to know if they saw anything. Whether the nephew tells him or not I'm not sure about. He agreed with me yesterday that the dog has been mistreated. I don't think he's a full bred pit...he looks mixed to me but that may be because he's so thin. Pits get a bad rap...just like doberman's and rotties...but it all depends on how they're treated and their basic temperment. My little dog has food aggression and is actually meaner than most other dogs when it comes to her food or treats. If we keep him hubby would like to take him to the Chopper shop with him during the day. He had mentioned wanting to get a big dog for down there but I was afraid our little dog would be jealous. I think she...and the cats...would be happy if this guy was gone with daddy all day.
2 people like this
@Barbietre (1440)
• United States
5 Feb 09
You did the right thing, I would have done the same myself. That dog is in no postion to survive a cold night. Here it is 20 now, no idea how low it is going to get. I have no plans on going out, and no animal should be out in this weather either.
2 people like this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
6 Feb 09
Hi Barb! It got bitterly cold again last night and no sign of John as of this morning. So, this dog would have had no food or water from at least Wednesday morning, all day Thursday and it's almost noon on Friday now. I checked the Florida statutes and he's guilty of animal neglect as well as abuse so, if he tries to make a fuss, I'll be more than happy to call the law.
• United States
5 Feb 09
I think you did the right thing. If he does complain, then you should call the authorities. The dog should not be put in that situation again. Animals deserve the basics of food, water, companionship, and protection from the elements
@Opal26 (17690)
• United States
6 Feb 09
Hey spalladino! When I saw the picture and heard the story of this poor dog I can't say enough about how happy I am that you now have this dog and you are planning to keep him! Please never give him back to that horrible person who left him there without feeding him and neglected him! That poor dog is so skinny! I know that he will be well taken care of now and he will a happier healthier doggy with you and your husband! I hate to see an animal that has been so badly neglected. When I saw his picture I cried! I am such an animal lover it breaks my heart to know that yet another animal has been abused for no good reason! Thank you for saving this sweet dog! I know he will now have such a happy life being part of such a loving family!
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
6 Feb 09
Hi Opal! We decided this morning, after no sign of John at all last night when it got bitterly cold again, that he's not getting him back. It's almost noon of the third day this dog wouldn't have had food. We've also noticed that he's not too steady on his feet and has troube climbing up on the couch (where he shouldn't be but we'll deal with that later on) which shows how weak he is and his lack of muscle tone. Another neighbor's young pit was loose earlier and this guy was stocky and had a belly. This poor dog should look like that...not lean and thin like a Greyhound. I'm feeding him small meals of canned food a few times a day and he's taking it just fine so tonight I'm going to try adding extra protein...eggs and lean meat. Right now he's chewing on a large rawhide bone, happy as a clam.
@Opal26 (17690)
• United States
6 Feb 09
Hey spalladino! I'm so happy to hear that this dog is doing so much better and is safe and happy at last! Building him up the way you are is the perfect way to to it! What's his name? When you see this guy you need to let him have it! How dare he just tie this poor dog up and leave him to die! I wish I could punch him myself!
• India
6 Feb 09
Well, I am speechless..not because you "stole" the dog, but at the condition of this dog. At least, he could have fed it and taken it for walks and just spoken to it once in while. I am glad you took the dog and fed him. I feel John should be reported for neglecting the dog if he makes a fuss. Chances are that he will never notice the dog is gone. I really hope you will update us regarding that. :) Cheers and happy Mylotting
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
6 Feb 09
Oh, I'll definitely let you guys know when/if the big showdown happens. I've already checked the statutes for my state and John is guilty of animal abuse as well as neglect. He already has a criminal record so I don't think he would want me to call the law and have a deputy decide what should be done with the dog. The longer he stays away, the better it is for our case against him and, as of right now, this is day three that this dog has had no care.
• United States
5 Feb 09
I am pretty sure that me and my husband would have done the same thing. I stole some guys dog across the street from my grandma and grandpas; when I was little because I thought that he was being mean for not letting him out of the yard! Tells you how funny kids think, they found out quickly and all of them explained to me that the dog could not get out of the yard because we lived behind a highway and he might get out on it and get hit. I can even remember that dogs name - it was a golden retriever named Sahara. Beautiful dog.
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
6 Feb 09
LOL, it's funny how kids think. My oldest grandson (8) lives nextdoor to me on the other side and I told him not to say anything to any of his friends about this dog just yet. He told me that he's felt sorry for that poor dog for a long time and he's glad that we took him. He also told us that the dog doesn't like gum much. I guess when you're a kid that's about all you have to offer.
@fasttalker (2797)
• United States
5 Feb 09
You did the right thing. I just wonder how long it iwll bbefore h noties the dog missing. Makes you wonder why people even have dogs if they aren't going to take car of them. You did John and the dog a favor in my opinon. I know that temperature is vey cold for where you are. Try this on for size...last night was -5 with a wind chill of -15 brrrr! LOL Have a great day and I hope you have a new pet! LOL
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
6 Feb 09
Brrr is right...that's coooold! I'm also wondering how long it's going to take John to notice that the dog is gone. I don't think the electric is on in that trailer so he may be staying someplace warm and not giving that dog a second thought. At lease he could have come by to feed him but, at the very least, he wasn't fed on Wed, Thurs or so far today and it's almost noon.
@moondancer (7434)
• United States
6 Feb 09
You know it wasn't a good thing to leave that poor baby out there in the cold. You also know that he wasn't being cared for. So no, it wasn't wrong to take him. It would have been wrong to ignore these facts that you knew. That poor little one needed someone to come in and fend for him. I feel so bad for little ones like this. And people like that have no business having a pet. He will be better off with you. If you can take him to the vets and under the law he can't get him back unless he pays you back all of the money you spent. But I doubt he would get him back since you have the picture of him and I doubt that he would even want to pay the vet bill. Good luck with the little one and keep us posted on him.
1 person likes this
@jdyrj777 (6556)
• United States
6 Feb 09
You were right to do what you did. Negelect is abuse and the last i knew it is against the law, weather it be human or animal. Too bad we cant do the same for some children that you did for this dog. Please no matter what do not let the owner have this dog back. For the sake of his life. Im also want to keep updated with what happens. Or how long it take this jerk to discover the dog is gone. Or even if he looks for him. With any luck on your side he wont try to take him back.
@ronaldinu (12440)
• Malta
6 Feb 09
You did the right thing. I would have done the same thing. I would not allow a dog or any other animal to be mistreated. It sad that bad owners are allowed to buy dogs and then abandon them in such a way. Giving them food every now and then does not constitute a good pet owner. Dogs needs love, attention, care and exercise. I would have stole your friend's dog too. If he complains I will ask an animal organisation to take the matters in its hands.
1 person likes this
@TheCatLady (4695)
• Israel
6 Feb 09
You didn't steal the dog you are just holding him safely indoors for the owner because of the bad weather when he was gone. This poor dog needs to be taken better care of. Maybe his owner will let his dog stay with you. May be you can educate him on dog care. Do it gently because obviously this kid isn't the brightest bulb on the tree. Maybe buy him a book on dog care. One of those little $2.99 50 page books meant for grade school kids.
1 person likes this
@mermaidivy (15415)
• United States
6 Feb 09
What a sad situation for the dog :-( I'm so glad the dog got picked up by you.. If I were you, I would have done the same thing. I won't say you "steal" the dog. I think for any of normal human beings(except dog haters), they will go save the miserable in that kind of awful situation. You did the right thing, you save the dog, I'm so happy to hear it! I hope he will just let you keep the dog:-)
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Feb 09
This sounds less like thievery and more like a rescue to me. You are to be commended for not only noticing the wretched conditions of this poor creature, but for reaching out to save him! Well done!!
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Feb 09
i would have defintly helped that poor dog but since my brothers alergic i would have had to call the spca and would have sent it there for a wile so it can have food and find a loveing home
1 person likes this