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Public outcry forces Warwick dog owner to move dogs indoors

The owner of a number of dogs left out in the cold in Warwick, R.I. said he will move the doors to a heated, indoor facility. (Courtesy)

A Warwick, Rhode Island dog owner has agreed to move a number of his dogs left out in the cold to a heated, indoor housing facility.

The move comes after a number of people filed complaints with the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals saying a dog owner left dogs out in the cold at 409 Tollgate Road in Warwick.

"This was of his own accord, as he was not legally obligated to do so," the RISPCA wrote on its Facebook page.

Despite the number of dogs left out in the freezing temps, the RISPCA said had its hands tied.

The agency said it was inundated with complaints, but couldn't act because the owner wasn't doing anything illegal, the organization wrote on it's Facebook page.

"Once again, we would like to make It clear that we do not condone this method of housing dogs," RISPCA wrote. "However, we are law enforcement agency, and therefore, we are legally and ethically obligated to uphold the law as it is written."

The RISPCA went on to say that the owner cooperated with authorities during the investigation.

Clifford Dennis, the dogs' caretaker said people are ignorant to the fact that hunting dogs need to spend some time outside to become acclimated to the cold weather.

"You have to keep the dogs in the cold somewhat so that they can get used to it," Dennis told NBC 10 News. "Six to eight hours is usually what they stay before we put them into the trailer with the wood wood stove.

"We warm them back up for six to eight hours and then we swap them and it's three and three," he added.

"Once again, we would like to make It clear that we do not condone this method of housing dogs," RISPCA posted on its Facebook page. "However, we are law enforcement agency, and therefore, we are legally and ethically obligated to uphold the law as it is written."

The RISPCA said the language of the law is unclear and creates several loopholes, make enforcement challenging.

"We have gone as far as seeking the interpretation of legal counsel on how to apply this law to this particular case," the RISPCA wrote.

The results of our investigation showed the lengths of the tethers were in compliance, all of the dogs were in good condition and no signs of cruelty or neglect were visible. It also found that all of the dogs had access to shelters and food and water.

But the case has forced the RISPCA to take a better look at the laws regarding animals left outdoors during frigid temperatures.

"We have already begun preparations for the 2018 legislative season, and we will be looking for a way to improve the language in RIGL 4-13-42, so that this issue does not arise again in the future," wrote the RISPCA.

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