Yesterday the city of Arlington recently posted a statement on its website regarding Blaze, the dog that spends most of his time on the end of a chain in his owners backyard and has been seen wearing a cone for 5 years.
As I wrote earlier this week, despite Blaze’s condition, his owner has technically not violated animal cruelty laws in Arlington in the state of Washington. City of Arlington representative Kristen Banfield explained to Q13 Fox that Arlington law states that animals must have “access to food and water, access to shelter, and room to be able to maneuver around so it doesn’t cause them any injury. And that’s what we have in this case.”
Here are some of the highlights from the city’s statement:
- Arlington Police have responded to over 17 emergency (911) calls from local residents regarding Blaze’s condition
- Arlington Police staff have contacted Blaze’s owner to discuss the dog’s condition and treatment
- Arlington Police staff have told Blaze’s owner about offers from staff and the local community to assist with housing, veterinary care and fencing for Blaze.
- Blaze’s owner has declined all these offers of help.
- Blaze’s owner did agree that Blaze needs a “full veterinary checkup” which he/she is in the process of scheduling with a local vet.
- Mayor Barb Tolbert asked her staff staff she wants Arlington “to become a leader in the state on animal treatment laws”.
- Her staff have been researching animal control and treatment laws throughout the country “to bring examples of meaningful changes that the City can support and enforce.”
- Mayor Tolbert has requested information from the Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies and Pasado’s Safe Haven “on potential changes to Arlington’s current animal treatment and control laws.”
The statement makes it clear once again that, regardless of how many people (including me) think Blaze’s condition is abhorrent and his owner should be charged with animal cruelty, it doesn’t violate either Washington’s or Arlington’s animal cruelty laws.
However, if Blaze’s owner does take him to the vet and the dog is suffering from any untreated medial conditions, he/she could be charged with animal cruelty for not providing medical attention that causes Blaze to suffer unnecessarily or endure unjustifiable physical pain.
I just hope they don’t take Blaze to the vet who allowed him to wear a cone for 5 years instead of treating the underlying condition.
One thing I don’t understand is why Blaze’s owner has refused generous offers from the community to provide housing, veterinary care, and fencing for Blaze. If Blaze’s owner was truly concerned about the dog’s condition, why would he/she turn down help from the community?
One of the co-founders of the group Fences for Fido told me they would be happy to build a fence around the yard so Blaze wouldn’t have to be tethered.
Blaze’s owner wouldn’t have to pay a dime for it.
I am heartened that Mayor Tolbert said she wants to toughen Arlington’s animal cruelty laws. Whether or not it happens remains to be seen, but at least she isn’t throwing up her hands and saying she can’t do anything about Blaze’s predicament.
As you may remember, that’s exactly what Forks Mayor Bryon Monohon did when confronted with the overwhelming evidence of animal cruelty at the Olympic Animal “Sanctuary”.”
The next step in this process will occur this Monday, September 14 when the Mayor’s staff will present the information they have collected about animal cruelty laws at a workshop for the Arlington City Council. The workshop begins at 7PM in the Arlington City Council Chambers, 110 E. Third St. in Arlington.
The statement also encourages citizens to take part in the process. The City Council Workshop agenda and packet materials can be found on the City’s website at www.arlingtonwa.gov.
You can also email comments firstname.lastname@example.org or speak at the end of the Council Workshop.
I encourage everyone who wants tougher animal cruelty laws to take part in this process. The Mayor has given us the opportunity to make our voices heard. Let’s be sure to take advantage of it.