One poor dog was left outside amid a harsh blizzard in Brooklyn, New York, and now local rescue groups are working with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to help the seemingly forgotten pet.
The public became aware of the problem when neighbor Evelyn Costa posted a video of the barking dog on Facebook. Reportedly an arthritic mixed breed, the dog had been left outside in a shed despite the freezing cold conditions.
“I don’t know why anyone would leave an animal outside for hours on end in those conditions,” Costa told the New York Daily News. “It’s a chronic neglect situation.”
Costa’s video has been viewed more than 465,000 times at time of publication. It seems to indicate that the pet is thoroughly uncomfortable at best.
“It was like listening to fingernails going down a chalkboard,” Costa said of the dog’s barking.
Unfortunately, the neighbor’s behavior is apparently nothing new. Costa added that the neighbor—who she described as “unapproachable”—had left two of her dogs outside during some of the hottest and coldest days throughout the year.
“It’s abusive to the neighbors, it’s neglectful of the pets and it’s been going on for 13 years,” she told the Daily News. “It happened last winter and the winter before.”
The ASPCA released a statement reading, “The ASPCA is currently collaborating with several groups to improve conditions for the dogs, and to continue to follow-up with the pet owner to ensure the health and safety of the animals.”
According to the statement, ASPCA is working with Guardians of Rescue (among other organizations) in a bid to ensure pets like this are taken care of during that particularly dangerous weather.
“They work with pet owners to insulate dog houses, provide heating pads and electric water bowls, waterproof roofs, and otherwise improve pet safety in ways that often surpass legal requirements,” the statement added.
That pet owner has reportedly been identified by police as 62-year-old June Wiggins, a Brooklyn resident who’s almost certainly become a bit more infamous since news of her neglect broke.
Wiggins could be sent to jail for up to 15 days if she’s caught for another infraction. Even after police reportedly visited her twice over the weekend, Wiggins apparently left her dogs out in the cold once again—this time in 30-degree weather and with plenty of snow still on the ground.
“The dogs were out all night, they were whimpering,” Costa told the Daily News after the continued neglect. “The nightmare continues. Blizzard or no blizzard, those dogs have been abused for years.”
The dogs—Prince, who’s blind, and Egypt—had apparently been allowed in the house temporarily, only to be sent back outside in short order.
Though the ASPCA is concerned about the circumstances, it added that the pets’ conditions unfortunately, “do not meet the definition of animal cruelty as defined by the law, making seizure by the police impossible.”
According to Costa, Wiggins claims she keeps the pets as protection.
“She’s using them like fire alarms, not like pets,” Costa noted. “She says they’re there for protection? That’s a joke.”
Wiggins has not returned calls or answered questions from the Daily News.