Animal Services asks Ocean Isle Beach homeowner to shelter dogs before freezing temps


OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) – Another night of below freezing temperatures had neighbors concerned on Ocean Isle Beach after they say there were dogs out in the cold.

There’s no law on the books in the state to charge a pet owner for leaving dogs in extreme cold if they have shelter. Neighbors could not sit by claiming the conditions the dogs were in not only inadequate but illegal.

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“That’s not taking care of a pet,” said neighbor and animal advocate Janie Withers.

That’s how Janie Withers saw the situation. Withers says a trio of dogs were chained outside and had neighbors telling her they had been like that for more than a day.

“The water bowls are frozen that violates the state law of North Carolina,” said Withers. “Dogs must have access to water. Water has been frozen all day, it’s freezing.”

She reached out to Brunswick County Animal Services, who all day Tuesday, monitored the home and gave the owner a notice to bring the dogs inside.

However, neighbors we talked too said that folks should not put the owner in the doghouse just yet.

“I love dogs and I would be the first person to call animal control, but if you just happen to ride by and see a dog on a chain and you don’t know the situation, don’t start trouble,” said Deborah Looney who lives right next to the home where the dogs are.

Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram released a statement saying the dogs have adequate housing, food and water but added,”APS does have concerns for the safety of the animals due to the extreme cold conditions.”

Here is more of the statement from the Sheriff saying:

“As with any case of alleged animal cruelty, Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Animal Protective Services remains vigilant in investigating the mistreatment of animals and will take any necessary action within the law to protect them.  Although the referenced animals are in compliance with North Carolina law and have access to food, water and shelter, APS does have concerns for the safety of the animals due to the extreme cold conditions. APS has spoken with the pet owner, advised them of those concerns and recommended that the animals be moved to a location where they will have better protection from the outdoor elements.  The pet owner has indicated that they will move animals indoors this evening due to the cold conditions.  APS will follow up tonight to ensure the animals are safe.”
“We will not allow animals in this county to be mistreated under any circumstances.  Although we are restricted by law in many cases and may be unable to take ownership of an animal, APS makes every effort to educate the pet owner, make recommendations on how to keep their animals safe, and to follow up and hold pet owners accountable.”

Neighbors have their takes on this.

“He can’t get to the food, if he could eat, and he can’t drink water because it’s frozen,” said Withers. “How does that or how is that adequate and abiding by the laws of the state of North Carolina it’s not in any way.”

“I mean there are dog houses, they’re dog houses. I don’t see where the inadequacies are coming from,” said Looney.

As day turned to night and the temperature reached below freezing the owner did make it home and was able to bring the dogs inside.

The owner of the dogs declined to talk on camera when we asked for his side for this story.