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Warm-Hearted Neighbors Save Freezing Dogs

Written by PETA | July 1, 2009

This is the story of 16 freezing, emaciated dogs on a property in a rural town in Kentucky. The dogs were so thin that their ribs were visible and you could count each vertebra in their spines. Two dogs were tied to empty barrels, another spent all day every day tethered to a dilapidated doghouse, and still more spent all winter shivering under a porch, desperate to escape the bitter cold and likely suffering from hypothermia.


These two shorthaired dogs’ only shelter? The barrels they were tied to.
Kentucky Dogs


The woman who owned the dogs would leave them for weeks at a time, not only deprived of a loving touch but also without food or water. Yet when complaints were filed with local authorities, the calls were ignored. Nearby residents tried to make sure that the dogs had food and water, but with winter in full force, the water would freeze and—because the dogs were desperate to maintain as much weight as they could to combat the cold—the food would disappear more quickly than the neighbors could supply it.


The starving dogs were climbing over debris (and each other) to eat food left by caring neighbors.
Kentucky Dogs


By the time we were notified, one of the females in this miserable situation had just given birth to a litter of puppies. She was so emaciated that nursing the newborns could have been fatal for her. Because the season’s first snow had already fallen, the puppies had little chance of surviving.

We worked quickly to get the sheriff’s department to investigate, but in the short time it took them to take action, two of the puppies had already frozen to death under the porch. The surviving animals were immediately seized and taken to the local animal shelter. The owner was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

You might be wondering why we’re talking about this heartbreaking case at the beginning of summer. That’s because we’re entering another deadly season for neglected backyard dogs. Those who somehow survive winter’s ice and freezing temperatures will soon face blazing heat and sweltering humidity—if they don’t already. Instead of hypothermia, many will suffer heatstroke, flea and tick infestations, and heartworms. Their need for the basics—protection from the elements, food, fresh water, and attention—is year-round.

Chained dogs depend on us to look behind privacy fences and glance under abandoned cars in the junkyard. And please don’t tune out their barking. It’s their way of crying for help.

Never assume that someone else is already on the case. I can let you know from firsthand experience that not everyone is willing to take action. Several years ago, while living in Chicago, I discovered two dogs who were locked in an abandoned building. Longtime residents quickly gathered around me, voicing their pity for the dogs. Yet when I asked if any of them had called authorities about the dogs, they shrugged and turned away. If I hadn’t called to report the case, the dogs may not have been rescued and would likely have starved to death.

All of this is meant as a reminder: Please do more than feel sad or sorry about neglected animals. Take action—you could very well be their only hope.

Written by Karin Bennett

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  • carla says:

    Rex’x mom! I agree with you 100

  • SY says:

    What a way to subject fellow sentient beings to extreme suffering and a certain death. Thank you for watching out for them.

  • Lauren Raulstone says:

    If you see animals that are being neglected and are freezingstraving etc dont only give them food and water REPORT THE OWNER TO THE AUTHORITIES! Take pictures and get these people prosecuted for their cruelty! you will be stopping any future cruelty by doing this. Keep caring guys

  • ruthy says:

    i understand me and my mother drive for hours beause we have our own little business one day at my school it was exactly eight elven and a white puppy was starviong and wandering the school. i txted my mom and she came by to pick up the dog. school authorities were going to put the dog in the pound. buti txted her in time and she picked up the dog.later then a boxer was at our school it was half dead. my mom called my uncle who helps dogs. and took him home he had a collar and we notified the police and the owner was put in jail for animal cruelty. so i can relate to you karin.and we should treat our best friends with love and compassion.

  • Lisa says:

    Thankyou to the person who stepped in! I hope this cruel dog owner has to spend time in jail and I think she should be given very little food. Maybe she will feel a tenth of what those poor dogs went through! If only we could save them all!

  • Shelly says:

    What is wrong with people? This person is SICK and should serve jail time and a lifetime ban on “owning” animals. My dogs are ecstatic when I walk through the front door even if I just left 5 minutes earlier. I wish everyone could see the compassion loyalty and beautiful hearts our BEST FRIENDS possess. Humans are the nastiest most heartless animals! Thanks for the reminder PETA. All true animal lovers will hear your call and TAKE ACTION!

  • felicity says:

    That woman should be treated how she treated those poor animals I have about 4 cats come into my garden everyday as there owner does not feed them so I make sure they have lots of food and drink lefted out for them. Hope all the gorgeous dogs are doing well now. x x

  • Rex's Mom says:

    Too bad it is illegal to put these heartless humans outside tied to barrels and deprived of food and water. Whatever the human does to the animal should be done to them!

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Many sages have declared that you can gauge a person’s character by the way they treat animals. People who save dogs cats and other animals are venerable paragons of compassion.

  • Dalia E. Hettfield says:

    I try to understand people that have animals but they don’t take care of them. I always say Our Little Angels love us without any Judgement and then they deserve LOVE RESPECT AND COMPASSION. GOD Blessings.