WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - “Tomorrow, at the first Legislative Meeting of Council Period 22, I will introduce the Extreme Weather Protection for Animals Act of 2017,” read a tweet from D.C. Council Member Brandon T. Todd.
He also wrote, “Will make it illegal to keep animals outside for extended periods in extreme weather & prevent future dogs from suffering like Momma did.”
This is the result of a Petworth neighborhood fight that just about exploded in by the end of the day Monday. The fight, according to neighbors, has been a battle that started this past summer to get a Pit Bull named Momma some help. Most recently, that battle became getting Momma inside.
Several neighbors and a local blog post say the dog stayed outside for most of this past weekend, even as the temperatures hit extreme lows.
Momma appeared to be shaking in a video two women recorded early Monday afternoon. The two said they saw the blog post randomly went to the Randolph St. NW home involved to see if they could help.
“We have video of the dog. She’s starving. You can see all of her ribs, her entire body is shaking,” said Molly Roland. “She was a little standoff-ish but we gave her a whole bag of food and she just scarfed it down. I mean it looks like she hasn’t been fed or let inside for days,” said Kat Dudinsky.
A group of neighbors who have been tracking Momma’s condition say that’s been exactly the case since the summer. They also say they’ve contacted a Mayor’s office, Councilman Todd and D.C.’s animal control for help.
“Its water’s frozen. And the food, there’s nothing,” said one of the neighbors who asked not to be identified. “We feed him a lot of the times.”
“We call. We called the Humane Rescue Alliance, the police go out, but the D.C. law does nothing for them. It’s so ambiguous they can interpret this little, tiny box of wood with a little bit of straw, nothing on the front to guard against the elements … that’s adequate somehow,” said a neighbor who called the situation “heartbreaking” and a “clear case of neglect.”
It’s apparently legal according to D.C. law.
A Humane Rescue Alliance Spokesperson told WUSA9, there is no law in the District requiring pet owners to bring their pets inside in certain weather conditions. Of the visits that have been made to the home, the Spokesperson said Humane Officers found the wooden enclosure in the backyard to comply with D.C. law. There’s not much more they can do but monitor.
Momma is “cared for in context of DC law,” said another Spokesperson with city government.
Not what the neighbors were expecting, Monday police arrested a man who those living in the house involved say is responsible for the Momma. There’s also another man who is believed to be the actual dog owner.
“He hasn’t been outside for a whole week,” said that person before rushing into a work van and quickly driving away.
The Human Rescue Alliance believes the arrest may be unrelated to the Momma’s case, although it involves the same location and person.
Good news came Monday evening, after calls and emails to DC Police, the Humane Rescue Alliance, the Mayor’s office and Council Member Todd’s office. According to a humane law enforcement officer, they were able to reach the dog's owner who they say has agreed to bring Momma inside when necessary.
Now Councilmember Todd is proposing legislation that could change the fate for all of the District’s pets.