Don’t Leave Your Puppy Out in a Thunderstorm

Don’t leave your puppy out in a thunderstorm.  This puppy is chained to a tree in his people’s back yard.  The lead is too short for him to reach the shelter of the patio area.  He has food and water, and (theoretically) that bushy tree-like thing might offer enough shade on a blazing hot day, but this baby can’t get out of the rain.

While I believe that not leaving any pet tied to a tree without the ability to get out of the rain is such blindingly obvious wisdom that no one should ever have to be given this advice, there are those who lack general common sense or the ability to read (as in: pet care manuals).  I understand that in some states it doesn’t rain 300 days out of the year, but here in Oregon rain comes and goes frequently all day long, three seasons out of the year.  So if you leave your dog in your yard without access to shelter there is a very good chance he will be rained on.

What’s worse than being rained on, for a dog, is being stuck outside (alone) during a wicked thunderstorm.

Here are some reasons not to leave a puppy out in a thunderstorm:

1.  They can get sick.

2.  They can get struck by lightening.

3. They can become neurotic puddings who will make you miserable.

4.  They will be afraid.

5.  Your neighbors will pound on your door and might even scale your fence to get the poor baby out of the rain.

6.  You will be tortured by dogs when you get to hell.

If you must leave your puppy for hours on end every day he should be inside where he is around familiar smells and not exposed to weather.  Because puppies are notoriously incontinent you may need to keep him in a crate.  Give him some things to chew on, something that has your scent on it that you don’t mind getting ruined, and be sure that the puppy has gone to the bathroom before incarceration.

I am not endorsing that anyone leave a puppy by himself for hours on end at all.  If you don’t have someone home to be around the puppy you may not be an appropriate person to have one.  Grown dogs can handle hours of alone time much better than puppies.

Since I confronted the owners of the puppy pictured above (who claimed they “didn’t know it was going to rain” IT’S SPRINGTIME IN ORGEON, OF COURSE IT’S GOING TO RAIN!) the puppy has not been left outside on his own at all.  Certainly not in the rain.

The next time you are tempted to leave your puppy outside during a thunderstorm how about, instead, you put the puppy in the house and leave yourself chained to the tree?




  1. Kathy says:

    OMG! That picture breaks my heart. Poor little thing. I think that’s abusive and why the hell do they even have a puppy if they’re just going to chain it up all damn day? Stupid mean people.

  2. angelina says:

    We call that abuse too Kathy. My mom called the ordinance control number of the police station to report animal abuse but I could have told her that what the neighbors were doing wouldn’t be considered abuse by legal standards. But for those of us who really love animals and think their welfare and comfort should be considered as important as our own would obviously never treat a baby like this. Well, not even a grown dog. We never lock our dog outside when we leave. We actually lock her inside because she doesn’t like it when we go out and will stress even more when she’s outside than in. When she’s left inside she curls up on our bed (especially on clothes of ours if there are any on the bed) and she’s a good girl and doesn’t cry.

    If we left her outside she would be so stressed by all the stimulation of the noises of the neighbors (who she really thinks we need protecting from) and she would almost certainly bark at the neighbors incessantly. This would be not only unkind to the dog, but obviously to the neighbors too!

    But this situation- nothing could have broken my heart more than listening to this baby crying in abject fear every time the thunder crashed. He’d already been whining and howling and barking in distress for two solid hours- but when the thunder started and i twas pouring on him my mom and I became irate. I hate confrontation but I marched to the neighbors. If they hadn’t pulled up just as I was knocking I swear I would have scaled their fence and sat with the puppy until they came home.

  3. Candace says:

    Thank you for going over there on behalf of that puppy. I typed up a long rant about pet ownership but deleted it. We got a black lab puppy on June 18th of last year and it looks just like the puppy in your picture, so I don’t need to tell you in 5 paragraphs how I feel about people like your neighbors.

    BTW I love crows too. Freaky smart those birds.

  4. angelina says:

    You are welcome to rant here any time you like. Especially on behalf of animals and against people who don’t treat them well. Are you the same Candace who used to sometimes comment on Dustpan Alley or a different one? (just curious) . Seeing the baby out there (from my bedroom window) has just wrenched me- my dog is half black lab (but looks like a full lab) and looked just the same as a puppy. My mom took up the cudgels after me and marched over there the next day. They still have the puppy, just heard him for a while today but just as I was wondering if I was going to have to go over there again, they brought him back inside.

  5. Rachel says:

    Hi. I was wondering if you could tell me how you went about approaching the neighbors? I am experiencing the same issue, except the puppy isn’t chained. Per my city website, I called the local animal shelter and reported them a few weeks ago. The puppy is never taken inside. We experienced 100+ days of 100+ degree temperatures here in TX, and the puppy was being left outside without water for entire days. The local animal control group was not at all helpful. They made me feel like I was in the wrong for calling. They finally said they’d send someone out, but who knows if they ever did. Nothing has really changed. I have been sneaking him water and food when I can. Today the guy left the house before 6am, and he did not go out to even check on the dog. Our radar shows thunderstorms and rain all day today. It was pouring rain, thundering and lightning when he left this morning. The puppy is soaking wet, no food or water bowl. They do have a covered back porch but it is small and with the wind blowing like crazy it’s not providing any kind of shelter. If their fence opening was on the same side as mine, I feel like I would have already taken the dog… But it’s on the other side of their house so someone would see me. I also have dogs of my own, so it would be dangerous to risk it for that reason too. Judging by the way they completely ignore this dog, im assuming they dont provide it proper vet care. Another neighbor is going to call about them on Monday, but I have completely lost faith in our system here after my phone call… So I’m considering going over and saying something… I just don’t know what. I have to be nice about it (even though I am picturing myself getting a baseball bat and beating the neighbor with it), because I’m afraid of the guy retaliating by poisoning my dogs or something. I don’t understand why he got a puppy if he’s just going to drop it in the backyard and that’s that. I’m actually considering going over and offering to buy the dog from him, heh, but that’s probably a bad idea. I don’t want him to keep it. He obviously doesn’t care about it one bit, so if he brought it inside I dont think things would be any better. I would even be willing to keep it until I could find it a good home. Any suggestions on what I should do?

  6. angelina says:

    I am no expert on this situation- which sounds terrible! Very similar to ours except that after both me and my mom talked to the neighbors about the dog we didn’t see him outside much after that and all the whining stopped. So either they keep him inside or they found a new home for him. I suspect they got rid of him or I’d have at least heard a little barking from him from time to time which all dogs do no matter their situation. What I did when I confronted the neighbors is to tell them that I was concerned for their puppy because he was whining and crying for hours that day and I could see he was outside alone and no one came to get him when the rains stopped. I managed to keep myself from saying anything nasty to them though I already had a very poor opinion of their animal treatment. I told them that they had left their dog out of reach of shelter. Their excuse was weak (they didn’t know it was going to rain… this is OREGON-it is always going to rain!!!!) and the next day the dog was outside for hours again crying. My mom talked to animal control and they said that as long as the dog has access to food and water their treatment was not considered abuse but that if the animal was loud for hours we could make a complaint to the police department based on noise problems.

    Texas will have its own laws and animal safety regulations. I think there isn’t much you can do if you know the rules and the neighbor isn’t breaking them. However, I definitely recommend talking to him and mentioning your concern without making him a villain. It’s a terrible situation and I know exactly how you feel because I was ready to steal that puppy from our neighbors if things didn’t improve but I think that wouldn’t have been a wise choice on my part. Perhaps between you and your other concerned neighbor talking to this guy he will change his treatment of the dog. If you know of any other neighbors with similar concerns, the more people come to talk to him about their concerns – at least this guy will know you’re all watching how he treats his dog. Not sure it will change anything.

    I’ll keep that dog in my thoughts and hope he gets better treatment soon or a much much better home. And also I want to say how happy it makes me every time I know another person out there watching out for the animals around them- best of luck to you!!!

  7. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the info. =) Same here, I was very happy to read your story and know that there are some people out there who care. My neighbor’s dog sort of looks like the one in your picture. Texas actually has a chaining law, so if the neighbor did have the dog tied up I’d maybe have more to work with…. but when I called animal control, I explained that he did not have access to food or water at times, and I stressed that he was without water several days when it was over 100 degrees outside. They just didn’t seem to care. The lady asked me, “Well are they not putting out bowls at all or is the puppy carrying the bowls off?” Um, what does it matter? They’re not giving it food or water. They do have bowls out, but they’re these tiny plastic things, and he’s a puppy… of course he’s going to carry the bowls off. Especially since he’s not being shown any attention and has nothing to do but be left alone outside 24/7. He actually chewed one of the bowls to pieces.

    I even waited to call animal control in the beginning, because I wanted to be sure they were breaking laws. They weren’t providing it adequate food, water, or shelter during inclement weather… and per our city website, you’re suppposed to call “immediately” if you see this happening. It was so dishearting to have animal control basically blow me off.

    I’m going to wait and see what they say tomorrow when another person calls and complains. I’m hoping that two calls will be enough to make them act. The older this puppy gets, the worse his chances for adoption are going to get.

    Thank you again for the quick reply. It really is helpful to know that there are others who care.

  8. Maplecult says:

    I have the nasty neighbor leaving his puppy attached to a chain outside in the back yard all days. Today the puppy was outside when there was a thunderstorm. I was waiting firstly to see if the neigbour will be back, but finally I could not stand to see a puppy in the situation. So I brought a tent to the puppy in their yard. Unfortunately, I met this neighbour in front of their house while I was exiting from their back yard. He told me to take my tent and leave his dog alone, and his dog was fine. It made me feel that I was in the wrong doing this thing. Really want to yell at this person that do not have the dog if you are not able to build a shelter for her outside(BTW, he did build a nice extension desk for the backyard, so it seems that a big desk is more important than a shelter for a puppy staying outside for the all day)

  9. angelina says:

    Sadly, there’s not much you can legally do about it. However, you can report that you see this puppy outside in all weather chained without shelter and say you worry for his wellbeing. Good for you for trying to help the puppy even if the neighbor foiled your attempt.

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