A San Marcos animal control officer responded Jan. 16 at approximately 6:30 p.m. to a report about a pregnant dog who had been left outside in weather dropping into the 20s.
According to the city of San Marcos News Flash, the dog was tethered to a tree with a short cord that was not preventing the dog from accessing a heated doghouse or food. The animal control officer said the dog was choosing to be outside of the house.
Kristy Stark, interim director of communications for the city of San Marcos, commented on how the situation did not necessitate police intervention.
“Something to note is that although this may not be the best way to keep a pet, it is not illegal,” Stark said to KXAN Austin.
However, San Marcos city ordinance 6.011 states it is “unlawful for any person to tie or tether a dog or other animal to a stationary object for a period of time or in a location so as to create an unhealthy situation for the animal,” including weather below 32 degrees. The temperature was as low as 25 degrees on the night the pregnant animal was found outside, according to Fox 7 News AccuWeather.
The following day, the San Marcos animal control conducted a follow-up visit. The man relinquished ownership of both the pregnant animal, Blanca, and another dog, Bruno, to the animal control officer. The owner had prior complaints regarding the dogs and said he could not afford to keep them.
KXAN Austin received a photo of the pregnant dog’s condition Jan. 16 at 9:30 p.m. and included the story in the nightly news broadcast. After the broadcast, KXAN contacted the city of San Marcos, the San Marcos Police Department and the San Marcos Animal Protection Officers. The Austin Police Department and SMPD both received many calls about the pregnant dog following the KXAN story to confirm it was safe.
The story led to a rush of outrage on social media from KXAN viewers over what they claimed to be the mistreatment of the pregnant dog. Comments from Facebook users on KXAN’s post included “Why have a dog at all if you’re just going to keep them chained up outside?” and “It’s a sad state of affairs when you have to make someone be a good pet owner.”
As of Feb. 13, Bruno and Blanca have been delivered to the San Marcos Regional Adoption Center.
Nicholas Pascone, lead shelter technician, said that there is no specific date when Bruno or Blanca would be available for adoption.
“The best way is to keep checking on the city website” Pascone said.
This is because the shelter has a large volume of animals coming in and out of the shelter and it updates the website when animals are made available for adoption. All available adoptions can be found here.