Buddy’s love comes too little, too late

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That's Life with Terri McCormick

Bear runs on the trail with the other dogs. The 14-year-old Husky mix is amazingly spry. My best friend just became a foster mom to this beautiful fella. Bear was tethered 24/7 his whole life before his owner finally agreed to give him up.

As I watched Bear trot happily along my eyes filled with tears, I couldn't help but think about another tethered dog named Buddy who never got to run or play. For seven years he lived chained to a doghouse in Joggins, Nova Scotia.

Buddy relied on neighbours to bring him food and water. People reported Buddy's plight to the Nova Scotia SPCA and the RCMP many times, but after several visits from authorities he was deemed to be in good condition and it was decided there were no grounds to remove him.

Under current legislation it is okay for an animal to be tied or chained outside for any length of time as long as it has food, water and some type of shelter. The rescue organization No Chains All Love Nova Scotia tried to reason with the owner to give up the dog but he refused. Well, last Friday after a group of folks called the authorities over and over demanding justice, the owners finally gave Buddy up but only after they were paid $200.

It took almost two hours for his rescuers to remove his heavy chain from the dog house and when they walked him to the car it was noted that the dog with the bluest eyes "never looked back." His rescuers turned the heat up in the vehicle so he would be warm. But once examined by a vet it was obvious Buddy was not in "good condition". He was severely underweight, with rotten teeth and overgrown nails. He also had obvious abdominal tumours that had ruptured.

One can only imagine the pain he endured night after night, alone in the cold. In the end, Buddy had to be put down, and when he passed they took bolt cutters and finally removed that God-forsaken chain. Buddy's story is heart wrenching but everyone is determined that his death be the catalyst for change.

People all over the Internet are talking about the injustices done to this dog and wondering how they can help. Global news has done two stories on Buddy. The Chronicle Herald featured a piece on his plight, and phones are ringing off the hook at Cumberland North MLA Terry Farrell and Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie's offices.

This week it was reported that because of Buddy, Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell plans to rewrite the regulations around companion animals like cats and dogs so it will make it easier for authorities to go in and take animals if they are in distress, and to charge or fine the owners if need be.

I am sad that Buddy couldn't have found a great family to be a part of, but I am so happy his death has not been in vain. We have to keep the momentum going and make sure promises are kept.

The goal is to get the Nova Scotia government to redefine the minimum standard of care (tethering 24/7) when it comes to current and outdated animal cruelty laws. The laws must be based on common sense and take into account the horrible emotional and physical effects 24/7 tethering has on a dog. Nova Scotia can be a leader and fight against this form of cruelty.

Jamie Baillie has called Buddy's death a tragedy. Send him a message at jamiebaillie@bellaliant.com. As well, Terry Farrell has expressed concern and shock. Email him at terry.farrell@live.com.

Buddy, you might never have felt love while you were alive, but I hope and pray you can feel the love now.

 

Terri McCormick’s column appears bi-weekly in the Amherst News.

 

Organizations: Buddy's, RCMP, Amherst News

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Joggins

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  • Marilyn Williams
    December 21, 2013 - 14:41

    So well said Terri . thank you for speaking from your heart. It is very distressing for those who truly care about the welfare of those who cannot speak for themselves get nowhere when seeking help from the SPCA and Law Enforcement . Seems there's a real case of "passing the buck "going on . Legislation will undoubtedly assist in being able to seize animals being neglected and I am thrilled with the pressure that is being put on the powers to be to make changes and make them sooner than later . But when all is said and done there will still need to be a whole shift in attitude and a huge amount of education given to those who will now be in a position of fuller authority and the excuse that there is enough staff or time available to investigate will not be tolerated . Such people as myself will be closely on the watch as to how these organizations respond to calls of concern by caring community citizens as right now I am aware of cases of animals living in unacceptable conditions that no one in authority appears to give one darn about and it appears that unless the animal's life is seriously threatened and even in those situations the response is tepid if even at all . Until further and better laws get passed I would plea with those who supposedly are given a mandate to investigate animal welfare concerns to please do your job and if you do investigate ,open your eyes and really see what is front of you . And for those of us who are willing to go the extra mile to assist in rescuing precious animals from lives of misery ,keep up the good work and if for some reason you can't see a rescue to an end there are those of us who will if we are made aware of the issue. Some consequences even bad are well worth the life of a dear innocent animal.

  • Audrey Kennedy
    December 21, 2013 - 07:58

    Another tragic story of abuse . A very well written article and I am crying again. The misery this poor dog endured is beyond awful and help came too late for him. I pray to God that he felt loved in his last hours and thank you all who finally got him off that chain. I hope the owners of Buddy are feeling a lot of heat but I do doubt that as I ould say they have no heart. RIP little guy

  • Susan Thieleman
    December 21, 2013 - 05:54

    There was no mention of charges being laid against the owner of Buddy! I think their names should be published, so that they might be banned from ever owning another animal.

  • Holly Hutchinson
    December 20, 2013 - 15:36

    Wonderfully written story Terri, congratulations. I would urge animal lovers to follow No Chains All Love on Facebook to see the fantastic work which is being done by the organization and to donate. https://www.facebook.com/NoChainsAllLove