Small dog found in dumpster, Animal Control investigating
Sioux Falls Animal Control officers are looking into a case of abuse involving a small dog left in bitter cold temperatures.
The dog was allegedly left in a neighborhood dumpster for several hours before anyone took notice. This serves as an important reminder about pet safety.
South Dakota is the only state without felony animal cruelty laws. Our neighbors to the north just enacted one this past year.
When animals are abused or neglected in South Dakota, animal rights advocates say the punishment shouldn't just be another slap on the wrist. And they're working to change that.
A small Chihuahua was found in a southwest Sioux Falls neighborhood barely alive in a dumpster.
"This dog was so defenseless to just anything. It is a Chihuahua, no hair, hardly. It's a small dog, can't fend for themselves," Sioux Fall Animal Control Officer Jen Trotter said.
The South Vista Condominium Association president Ron Johnke was shocked.
"This is the first time we've ever had a pet just dumped like that, hopefully it never happens again," Johnke said.
Officers are working with leads to figure out who is responsible.
If they do, it's considered a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison with up to $2,000 in fines.
Meanwhile, Sara Parker, with the group 'SD FACT' or South Dakotans Fighting Animal Cruelty Together had something to say.
"It's sad and it's shocking. I think most people know the [Sioux Falls Area Humane Society] has a 24-hour drop off regardless of the time or day of the week, you can drop an animal off. It's been so bitterly cold and just to think of the animal slowly freezing to death, it's heartbreaking," SD FACT member Sara Parker said.
Parker has been working to strengthen animal cruelty laws by lobbying for felony punishment for about 5 years now.
"You hope people have empathy, and that people can look outside themselves and see how it affects people. Even though a dog isn't human, it can still feel pain and fear. I would think with this particular dog, they could have knocked on anyone's door and they would have taken it," Parker said.
Advocates with SD FACT and other animal rights groups plan to join with agricultural communities and lawmakers to bring legislation forward in 2014.
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