CHARLOTTE, N.C. - When temperatures dipped below freezing Wednesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Animal Control Lead Officer William Brenner responded to a concerned call about a dog named Bella.
Brenner found Bella with a heavy lock around her neck, tethered to a tree in the backyard of a west Charlotte home. The dog also didn't have a shelter.
"See how she is shivering? She’s cold," Brenner said.
When Brenner spoke with the dog's owner, she told him she didn’t realize the danger she put Bella in.
"It got so cold last night, you are lucky she didn't freeze to death," Brenner told the dog’s owner.
Cases such as Bella have been piling up within CMPD Animal Control.
From Dec. 24-29, officers responded to 29 weather-related animal cruelty calls. Over the past five days, calls spiked to 47, six of those which were priority calls.
Brenner said he tries to educate families before seizing their pets, however, sometimes he has to take the animals in life-threatening situations.
The officer said that over the past month, he had to seize two dogs. In one of the cases, the dog was tethered to a garbage can.
Brenner said Bella's family was willing to make some serious changes for her safety.
He went back to Animal Control to grab some hay, a collar and a brand-new dog house to help the family who said they couldn't afford those things.
When Brenner returned to the home, Bella was already warming up inside. The owners finally removed the heavy chain from her neck.
Meka McKoy, the dog’s owner, thanked the officer.
"I didn't know it was that serious, but now I do,” McKoy said.
"It feels good to get everything resolved, and hopefully they will keep the dog inside in the evenings during this cold spell," Brenner said.
If you see a pet in a challenging or harmful state, call CMPD Animal Care & Control at 704-336-7600.
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