Last Wednesday crowds scrambled to grocery stores buying up milk, bread, water, and other rations, stocking up for the impending weather approaching the Midwest. The weather man was calling for up to an inch of sleet and ice in some areas on Thursday, and significant snowfall on Friday. Everyone scurried at the news.
Conscientious pet owners with outdoor pets made haste to secure proper shelter for their animals, bringing some inside for the storm, while others did little to nothing to insure the comfort or even the lives of their pets. At least one Perry County dog has died from it's owner's lack of concern.
Sleet and ice covered Southeast Missouri in a matter of just a few hours and as predicted almost a foot of snow fell on the area shortly after. By 6 p.m. on Friday there was as much as 14 inches of snow on the ground in rural Missouri on top of a layer of ice. Temperatures dropped below freezing.
In a backyard in Brewer, Mo. two dogs were chained with no food or water, and had little more than makeshift shelters to protect them from the winter storm. The pet's owners were not home to care for them much less bring them in from the blistering cold.
The dog owners, however, were coming and going, moving belongings from their rental home. There were tracks everywhere to indicate the move, but there were no tracks to be seen, leading to or from the area in the back of the property where the dogs were chained. No one had even checked on them.
The call to Rough Road Rescue came too late for one of the Brewer dogs that had been forgotten. Upon arrival authorities and Rough Road Rescue discovered one dog dead and the other hanging on but cold and in poor condition.
It was apparent that the Boxer had made it through the storm. But malnourished, with no water and no way to maintain his own body temperature in the makeshift wooden box he was left to survive in, he died; cold, hungry, and alone. One can only guess as the misery this poor animal suffered in the blistering cold.
Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding the dogs death.The outcome of the investigation will determine whether or not any criminal charges are in store for the dog's owner.
The second dog found on the property has been taken in by Rough Road Rescue.
This will certainly not be the last winter storm of the season here in the Midwest and pet owners should pay closer attention to the environments pets are forced to live in.
If you see an animal being neglected or abused, call your local sheriff's department immediately. Animals in imminent danger can be confiscated and moved to adequate shelter before it is too late.
If you are having trouble providing food or shelter for your own pets, please contact your area animal shelter or rescue to inquire about any assistance they may provide. Most animal welfare organizations are willing to provide assistance for those that ask.
To contact the Perry County Missouri Prosecuting Attorney about this case call or write Tom Hoeh, prosecutor.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 570, Perryville, Mo. 63775.
Telephone (573) 547-1023
Fax: (573) 547-4718.
Office hours are 8:00 a.m.-12:00 pm. and 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mon. - Fri.
The Prosecuting Attorney's Office prosecutes violations of state law occurring within Perry County, Missouri. The offenses include everything from traffic offenses to murder.