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Is there more to neglect then failure to provide food, water and shelter?

Dog Neglect

My friend’s neighbor in Ottawa has a Siberian Husky that they neglect. It is left outside by itself 24/7 all year.  This has been going on for years. It breaks my heart whenever I visit – now the visits are fewer as it is too upsetting to me.  The dog is fed and watered but the loneliness has to be seriously detrimental to his well being.  The humane society won’t do anything as they say the rules are as long as the dog is provided with food, water and shelter it is not neglect. I believe that starving any animal of companionship is abusive.

Do you have any suggestions of who I could contact?


Hi Beatrice,

I’m about as far from being a PETA placard carrying person as Charlie Sheen’s character on Two and a Half Men is coming back from the dead but I do consider sensory deprivation of a highly social species to be more than neglect, it is abuse. I’d go as far as saying it is cruel.

After I read your letter I took the time to look up the vision statements of some of the larger animal care organizations, particularly those that have been around a while. They seemed sensible enough but as much as I hate to be critical, their vision must be impeded by some serious cataracts if after a century’s worth of leadership all we have offered to us in situations like this is, “If there’s food, water and shelter there’s no neglect and there’s nothing we can do.” It shouldn’t take a team of MBA consultants to suggest that when somewhere between the 25 − 100 year mark those vision statements have proven to be as useful as a shirt with a pocket sewn between the shoulder blades it might be worth taking a peek at the business plan. What is it Einstein said about the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

You’re on our own for now so I have some suggestions. They’re not much but maybe something will work. The first is to contact a Siberian Husky specific rescue in your area or farther afield if you have to and discuss it with them. They may have some suggestions. Be forewarned, they are always short on resources both financial and foster homes so they may be tapped out. You might find them more responsive if you can raise some money to underwrite their taking the dog on. In that case they might send someone by that person’s house and say, “Hey, I heard you have a Siberian Husky. I work with a Siberian Husky rescue and we’re always looking for huskys for people. Any chance you’re looking for a home for yours?” Even if they said no, they’ve planted a seed and opened the door.

Often these dogs are unlicensed so a couple of weeks later call whoever handles the dog licensing in your area. They’ll send someone by. If the yard isn’t clean as it often isn’t in these cases they may pop them a ticket for that but probably just a warning. The dog owner might be more accommodating if the rescue called around this time. Still no luck? When there’s a really cold snap they should call again as people that leave dogs in yards generally hate running out to feed and chip ice out of the bowl everyday.

You might be successful only to find they end up with another dog they neglect. I wouldn’t let that stop you, just prepare yourself in advance for that possibility.

Pawsitively Yours,

John Wade – – Sign up for the newsletter!

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2 thoughts on “Is there more to neglect then failure to provide food, water and shelter?”

  1. Kathleen Ramsey

    I have a neighbor..There poor Husky is soo neglected. Yes she has smashed food on the patio..There is no interactions with the family and this dog.She looks is hot and she is shedding sooo bad…They do nothing.I dont know what to do other than steal her away from this horrible living situation. I have called Animal Control several times on there previous dog for the same neglect. They have threatened me if I call again they will call the police on me for harrassment. What can I do. I feel so stuck.

    1. Hi Kathleen,

      You’ll have to document. Find out precisely what the law allows and start a diary with pictures and video. Write it all out, including your efforts up until this point, including who and when you’ve contacted. Send it all in a registered letter to as many officials (animal control, humane society, breed specific rescues, city counselor, police chief etc.). Likely within 24 hours, something will happen. Has to be registered showing proof of delivery and to who.

      John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade

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