Outrage grows over dog found frozen to death in Longview
By Sarah Thomas sthomas@news-journal
Jan. 8, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Outrage grew Wednesday - locally and nationally - over a dog chained to a tree <a href="http://www.news-journal.com/news/police/longview-dog-found-frozen-solid-owner-will-face-charges/article_de8f9540-5cbd-5b7d-8d6f-e41d1438ad13.html" target="_blank">found frozen to death</a> at a South Longview residence.
No arrests have been made in the case, which drew a sharp response Wednesday from the national People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Lisa Hines, PETA spokeswoman, said reports of the dead pit bull - frozen so severely a veterinarian couldn't get a temperature reading - spurred the organization to share life-saving tips with East Texas residents.
"Every year, PETA receives thousands of complaints about people who leave dogs outside in the cold," she said in an email. "Although they are equipped with fur coats, dogs and other animals can still suffer from frostbite and exposure, and they can become dehydrated when water sources freeze."
Hines added cold weather is even more dangerous for "backyard" dogs because they often are neglected and go without adequate food, water, shelter and veterinary care.
Immediately after Longview police used Facebook to get the word out about the dog, people took to the social media site to vent about the owners and express sympathy for the animal.
By mid-afternoon Wednesday, the post had garnered almost 600 comments and netted more than 220 likes.
People commented to say the owners were "sick," deserved to "freeze to death as well" and should be charged with a felony instead of a Class A misdemeanor - the maximum allowed by law.
"They need to charge this Idiot with a felony instead of a misdemeanor ...then chain him to a tree with no clothes on in 15 degree weather!!" one comment read.
Police spokeswoman Kristie Brian, who also runs the department's social media platforms, said Wednesday afternoon the post had generated nearly 78,000 views. Previously, the post with the most views was the alert about the text message scam targeting Community Bank account holders, she said. That post generated about 33,000 views.
"People view animals and children as not having a choice and that they are unfortunately victims of their circumstances," Brian said about the post going viral on Facebook with more than 1,100 shares.
No arrests have been made, Brian said, adding the detective in charge of the investigation will submit evidence to the district attorney's office for an arrest warrant to be issued.
Scott Chesner, meteorologist with News-Journal news partner KETK, said temperatures are expected to stay above freezing for the next week.
"We'll have lows in the 30s this weekend, but it will likely be above freezing so it won't be a big deal at all," he said, adding the area could see some arctic temperatures return around Jan. 20.
"We'll be on the fringe of another arctic air mass," Chesner said.