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Opinion: Burnaby dog ‘suffering psychologically’ thanks to cruel owners, but little to stop it

Owners can't be forced to bring pets inside their house
sad dog burnaby
Dogs shouldn't have to brave the elements

A Burnaby dog that is “suffering psychologically” because its cruel owners will never let it inside the house or play with it can’t really be helped.

It’s just another case of how animals can be mistreated in certain ways but there is little our laws can do to stop it.

I was contacted by a Burnaby resident who has watched their neighbours display cruel indifference towards their dog. This includes the dog always being kept outside, even during the recent snow and cold snap. The dog gets soaked in the rain, baked in the summer and frozen in the winter. The neighbour has given gentle suggestions on how to treat the dog better, but it’s prompted zero reaction.

The BC SPCA has taken some action, the neighbour says, adding “they’ve done all they can,” but the agency is held back on certain parts of the case.

“I have never ever seen the dog inside the house but I have seen them home in the kitchen doing things and the dog is still outside,” the neighbour told me. “I know for sure that the dog feels very lonely and unloved by the way it reacts to me when I talk to it. It seems like it has its spirit damaged and has a low self-esteem feeling that it doesn't deserve to be inside the house and getting affection.” 

The neighbour has been in touch with the BC SPCA and an officer has visited the home to speak with the neighbour, telling them they needed to get a space heater for the back deck where the dog spends most of its time.

“I fear they put the heaters in there to get out of trouble with the SPCA,” the neighbour said. “I think they won't turn them on because the heating bill would be so significant as the patio has got to be bad for keeping heat in.”

I spoke generally about the situation with Eileen Drever, senior officer protection and stakeholder relations with the BC SPCA.

Drever said there are things the BC SPCA can do in this situation, such as ensuring protection from the elements. Owners must provide adequate shelter, which includes proper bedding. The agency recommends straw and not blankets outside as the blankets get soaked and dirty.

“But we can’t force people to bring their pets indoors,” Drever said, adding that people should bring pets inside and give them attention as they are “sentient beings” and need to be around people. “They need to feel part of a pack.”

We’ve seen time and again how our animal laws fail to protect these amazing creatures. If you’re reading this and have a pet, please let them inside and show them more love.

A law shouldn’t have to force you to do the right thing.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.