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Finding Freedom for a Freezing Dog

Written by PETA | February 2, 2010

It was 20 degrees in Michigan, and this small dog was tethered outdoors without any shelter to protect her from the plummeting temperatures. She was shivering, lonely, and suffering from a severe skin infection that was causing her fur—her only defense against the bitter cold—to fall out.


Michigan Dogs


A compassionate passerby alerted PETA’s Emergency Response Team that the dog appeared to be in danger. It was late, but we promptly notified a solid dedicated humane officer who with whom we’d worked with in the past. Despite being off duty at the time, he rushed to the scene and made a heartfelt plea to the dog’s guardians, who, thankfully, agreed to relinquish her into his custody on the spot. The dog, later named Suzy, was whisked to a nearby animal shelter for immediate assessment and care. Shortly after the rescue, the wonderful humane officer posted pictures of Suzy and an account of the incident on his Facebook page. His post stated, “Strange thing just happened; I just got a call from PETA requesting I check on a dog …. Don’t know how they got my # but I’m off to go check, after all I gave my word that I would.”

Every winter, we’re inundated with calls about dogs who are relegated to lonely back yards by people who refuse to allow them inside and make them a part of their family. These dogs are often forced to withstand freezing temperatures, often with nothing more than a plastic barrel or a lean-to as shelter from the ice, sleet, and snow. Not only are these dogs cold and miserable, they are susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite, and even death. Although winter is especially harsh, chaining a dog is never a safe or acceptable option. Dogs are social pack animals who want and deserve companionship. If you ever spot a dog in need, please do everything you can to help, including alerting local officials to your concerns. Your voice can make a difference!

Written by Logan Scherer

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  • Sandraa says:

    Oh my god Suzy looks exactly like one of my dogs which made reading this even sadder. I’m glad she’s ok. I hate it so much when people leave their dogs outside alone in cold weather. It’s insane and those people should not be allowed to own any pets.

  • sheltiesforever says:

    We had a similar situation in Wayne county a few years ago I called Animal Control over and over finally told the officer that I would do whatever it took to get the sweet Cocker Spaniel who was abaondoned in my neighbors yard rescued. Animal control told me the owner wouldn’t mind if the dog disappeared it was her kids dog. I didn’t wait long to take her from the yard drove across Detroit to the furthest Humane Society I could get to and gave them the dog I ‘found’. My DH said he wanted to do it but couldn’t. I am proud to have done it and would do it again in a heartbeat. Its cruel to leave most dogs outdoors 247 esp the little ones she was scared lonely and starving. I must admit I cried when I left her she was a real sweetie but I am sure she is napping on a sofa somewhere as long as she didn’t have heartworm from months outdoors.

  • elizabeth pickard says:

    I don’t understand why they legally can’t seize these dogs it’s clearly abuse and don’t we have laws in place for such abuse??? 35 degrees is one thing but 1510 degrees is abuse… plain and simple… why do you have a dog if it’s chained all of it’s life???

  • Sanela says:

    As a kid I grew up in a European society where dogs were not home pets. I desperately wanted a puppy and I got him but I will regret such decision for the rest of my life. Not understanding the conditions of the society my dog was always kept outsidein a “doggie” house. That was horrible I realize now as an adult but even more horrible was the physical abuse he suffered from my aunt. I guess people learn from mistakes. I vowed not to have anything like that happen again under my watch. Living in the U.S. now I am pleased that there are people who are helping educate others including kids about the right treatment of animals. Even though it is a long road in the fight against cruelty towards animals I am optimistic that we will succeed. Now as an adult I understand what it means to treat animals humanely.

  • sarah latona says:

    I live in a neighborhood where people have too much money to walk thier dogs. They chain them up outside allow them to cry and bark all day and then are outraged when you call them on it. The local police are useless. Any suggestions? What’s PETA’S emergency number?

  • Derrick says:

    Please reach out to Ray through his Facebook and tell him how much you appreciate what he is doing. I just messaged him and he inboxed me back immediately. Nice guy and hero to animals.

  • Rad_Rosa89 says:

    People need to understand to treat all living animals the same as people.

  • nessa says:

    great officer! f the people who let those poor animals suffer.

  • Andy says:

    Someone asked if you can’t bring the dog inside why have one? I think if one stance must be taken it should likely be if you can’t leave the dog outside why have one. If it’s extreme you can bring them in especially if a smaller dog but the trend of people having huge dogs running around inside is really annoying. Aren’t large dogs generally happier running around outside?

  • Melanie says:

    Awww… what a cute doggy. I want him!!

  • John says:

    Not even a husky wants to live outside on a chain unable to play run escape a predator etc That is NOT how properly kept huskies are treated yspring

  • Wade Garrett says:

    “These people MUST be prosecuted.” Executions all around!

  • melissa says:

    When I adopted my beagle dog from the shelter she immediately rewarded me one day before her spay date with 2 puppies that appear to be pit mix. The situation described above is why I was picky about their adoption. Needless to say I now have a beagle and 2 pit mix boys. After running outside playing tag they sure like to come in and lounge on throws and the sofa!

  • Brandon Joule says:

    she’s such a cute dog! I hope she finds a great home when she’s better!

  • Theo says:

    Some local officials refuse to do a thing and will willingly let a dog simply die and its owners get away with criminal animal cruelty. If you have an inadequate enforcement system near you and a bad situation like this take pictures and video of that freezing or starving or overheating dog! Post it everywhere online that you can think of with information. Send it to all the big and small groups. Send it to the press. Make it public! That’s how things change and lives are saved.

  • Janet says:

    Thank you Officer Raymore for compassion dedication. God bless you.

  • claire says:

    Just because a dog is double coated doesn’t mean siting in the snow or rain all day is fun or being tied up or alone. Check out the Idatorod dog sled race and see how many huskies freeze to death every year. If you can’t take you’re dog inside then why have one?. Glad PETA found the doggy.

  • Christine Gordon says:

    What a good officer. Chris

  • yspring says:

    In this situation it was clearly a harsh and unacceptable way for this dog to live however there are many dogs huskies etc that are double coated and are actually happier outside in the weather given that they have food water shelter

  • NT says:

    These people MUST be prosecuted.