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Mis-treated dog guilt... what now?

A couple of years ago I lived with some people who treated their dogs horribly. They also were unpleasant in a multitude of other ways, and I got out of there as soon as possible and never looked back.

Its been two years now and I cant stop thinking about those poor dogs. For a moment when I left, I thought about taking them with me and saying they escaped or something, but I didn't do it and now its too late.

Basically, they had two large dogs (one american bulldog and one german shepherd) who were locked up all day, one in the bathroom and one in a crate she couldn't stand up or turn around in. They were let out (as in, out of their prisons, not out of the house) for one hour in the morning and three hours at night. Meaning, for 20 hours out of a 24 hour day they were locked up. I offered several times but was told I was not allowed to let them out when I was home. I would sit in my room and cry because I could hear them crying. It was awful. One dog would go to the bathroom in the house (I'm certain due to anxiety) and when it couldn't be blamed on my cat, the dog was beaten and had her face shoved in it. The dogs were also "punished" (beaten or locked up) for being too hyper when they were finally let out, or for not obeying commands they were never taught.

I feel so guilty for not helping them, but I didn't know what to do. I couldn't keep them, and two large supposedly "dangerous" breed dogs with no manners, a fear of humans, and bathroom issues aren't exactly adoptable.

I know if I call the humane society all they check is if the dogs have a warm, safe place to sleep and fresh food and water, which technically they do. Any advice?  :'(

BOO! I hope those people die in a horrorific painful car accident. I would look into some animal rights groups in your area for resources. Often times they themselves or an organization they know will help you take the appropriate actions in the best interest and welfare for the dogs. Try googling it and see what you can find.  It would be really unfortunate to have to live out the rest of their life in this manner or be taken to a local animal shelter only to be put to sleep or sold to a research facility where even worse things would happen. My best advice is to contact an animal rights group or a no-kill shelter/ sanctuary, they would be able to help. I don't know why people have animals if they are just going to hurt them or lock them up. Freakin douche bag morons, I can't stand people like that!


Man... evidence accumulates: humans suck. Sigh. I'm so sorry this became part of your world... I know how stuff like that can weigh on you.

My sister deals with this in an ongoing fashion, regarding her yard-neighbors... between just you, me, & the other Vegwebbers: when she's eventually able to move, they're going to be missing a dog! shh, don't mention it...

Bottom line is, all you can do is all you can do... for my sis, that meant calling the local ASPCA, and then the police (when the asshole showed up pounding on her door, with threats & such) -- and making clear that she would continue to do so indefinitely, as long as it remained an issue... the problem there was short-leash confinement, so I'm not sure that the assholes you speak of WOULD be exempt from legal problems, just based on food/ water/ shelter accessibility...? idk, but aren't there basic movement allowances written into at least *some* states' cruelty laws? I'd call the local ASPCA/ humane society & ask for guidance... sometimes even if no penalty is assessed, it's attention-getting just being investigated... might be worth looking into, reporting them for cruelty.

If not, maybe all you can do right now is think it through & get straight in your own head how you wanna deal with it if the issue comes up in your world again. A little 'snatch-&-grab' is not outside my personal ethical venue, given relatives willing to foster! Nor is saying, "Hey, man, that's messed up! That's not right, what you're doing..." but sometimes, there's just not a good answer... There have been times -- this is hard for me to say -- when I didn't stop for a stray on the road. This is an aberration for me; each and every time it's happened, I've regretted it... but when I was a new single mom of an infant, in a 1-bedroom house with 4 dogs/ 2 cats/ 3 birds/ 3 gerbils, & making well below poverty-level earnings waiting tables, & juggling shut-off notices... there are just times when you can't do all you wish you could do. That is, unfortunately, the reality of life sometimes... Don't beat yourself up; do what you can; get straight, in your own head, what (if anything) you'll do differently, if the issue comes up again.

Humans suck... I'd apply for a transfer if I knew where to pick up a form. Wish I could help more. (Sigh.)


Thank you so much, that made me feel a lot better. I should call the ASPCA just for advice though, as I'm typing this, I'm realizing I don't even know if they live there any more.

I know what you mean about the stray dogs... sometimes my boyfriend has to remind me that I cant save the world. Sometimes you just have to settle for "doing something is better than doing nothing".

I will say though, in retrospect (you know, hindsight is 20/20), if i could go back and take the dogs I would have.

So if anyone is in a similar situation... I say go for it.  ;)


what a horrible experience, it made me think of my cat reading this.  When I left my ex husband it was under bad terms, I had to sneak back to our house to gather my things.  At the time I just took my dog, because I knew the 6 hour drive to a new and unfamiliar home would be bad for my cat. 

Now I wish I had.  I told my ex that if he wasn't going to keep her, that i would come get her.  He told me he would.  One day I called him a few months after our separation to ask how our cat was, and he said nonchalantly, "oh.. yeah I gave her away, she was meowing too much when I had clients over".

I finally got out of him that he had given her to an employees mother. 

I always told myself that this was for the better, that she would be in a good home.  But reading all this today made me cry. 

I decided to send an email to that employee to find out if he had really given her my cat, and if she was doing well.

I'm dreading the answer, I really am.  :(  I should have taken her with me when I had the chance.


I'm sorry I made this more about me.  i didn't mean that, it hit me hard reading that.

I think you did the best you could, and I think calling the SPCA is a good first step.  It's horrible to think that people can treat animals like that.  And yet, it happens everyday.


First of all, itsybitsykristy you did everything that you possibly could at that time and you were doing what you thought was right. You were at least able to get one animal out so now you know that your dog is safe and loved. I really hope you get a good reply back, good luck!

Second, my advice is to gather as much evidence as you possibly can. Pictures, video, sound recordings...anything. Then make copies, bring it to the SPCA, local animal rights groups and the police. Make sure everything is clear and date everything.

This hits hard for me because I have a german shepherd.


Yeah itsybitsykristy thats awful about your cat but like you said, at least you know shes in a good home and not out on the street somewhere. You do what you can.

And second, Minke, I cant go back and get evidence now but that is solid advice for the future. And I cant understand why anyone would own a german shepard or any big, intelligent dog for that matter if you had no intentions of really caring for it.

Boggles my mind.

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