A Nashville dog owner has been charged with animal cruelty after police sid they found a dog dead Tuesday morning, presumably from the freezing cold temperatures.
Police received a call around 11:15 Tuesday morning about a deceased dog in the backyard of a home on Hawkwood Drive. When officers arrived, they found a Great Pyrenees dog dead and another one in need of medical attention.
Tamara Puckett, the dogs’ owner, has been charged with animal cruelty. A spokesperson for the Metro Health Department said it’s not illegal to keep pets out in the cold, as long as there is shelter and the animal is not tethered to anything.
“These two dogs we found today were not tethered,” Brian Todd said. “They were in the yard, so there is a difference there with cold weather.”
Neighbors said the two dogs were often left outside all year round, despite the weather. The neighbors claimed the dogs’ coats were often matted with dirt, food and feces.
“We always saw them outside year round: summer, winter, fall, rain, wet or frozen,” Aeshia Banks said.
Some said they’ve called the Humane Society and Metro Animal Control frequently but nothing was done about the dogs.
“It just seemed as though they didn't take me seriously,” Sandra Stafford said. “Like I was a nosy neighbor, but I told them, ‘This is a serious situation. These dogs need care.’”
Metro officials told News Channel 5 they responded to the home on January 7. That time, they charged the owner with failure to have updated rabies vaccinations and for not properly grooming the animals.
Still, neighbors wished the owner would have asked for help before Tuesday morning’s death.
“There are organizations out there that can help these animals that can be too much,” said Stafford.
Metro officials are urging anyone who see an animal out in the cold to call 911. Normally , they would recommend calling the metro non-emergency number, but since the weather is to an extreme level this week, calling 911 directly is the best option.
Officials said it would be between two weeks and a month before an exact cause of the dog's death is determined.