By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
Typical dog items – water and food bowls, chains, and dog houses – were scattered on the grassy area in front of Family Video.
But the occupants of the dog houses on the corner of Kirk and Raccoon roads were far from typical. Four women, wearing collars that were attached to chains staked into the ground, sat in front of or laid in the dog houses.
“We’re bringing awareness to dogs that spend their entire life outside, just to try to bring awareness to the fact that it’s not a life to live,” said Carla Touville, a co-founder of Safe at Last Dog Rescue, sponsor of
Saturday’s 14-hour event.
Dogs that live chained outside run the risk of hanging themselves on their chains and typically don’t have
access to adequate shelter or food, Touville said.
Most also become aggressive, because of lack of
socialization with people and other pets, she added.
“I think a lot of times people don’t really realize how bad it truly is and they feel that it’s just OK to go ahead and put them outside,”
Touville said. “And it kind of ends their trouble because out-of-sight, out-of-mind.”
Toni Iacobacci, a co-founder of Safe at Last, said raising awareness was worth dealing with the windy weather and chilly temperatures.
“I drive past a chained dog every single day, twice a day,” Iacobacci said. “And it breaks my heart to see him out there 24/7, day in, day out, chained to a house, with a bucket of water. He watches his family walk by him every single day and they do not pet him, they do not acknowledge him, they just leave him chained to that house every single day.”
Iacobacci lost a dog, Daisy, to heartworm. She rescued Daisy from a dog pound after the small animal spent the first couple of years of her life chained outside.
“If she had not been chained outside she probably would never have contracted heartworm disease,” Iacobacci said.
Debbie Deeley, of Fowler, stopped by the event to help the organization.
“I think it’s very commendable what these people are doing,” she said. “And I love animals and someone needs to help them.”
She purchased raffle tickets and made a monetary donation to Safe at Last.
“I think these people are very special,” Deeley said. “The animals can’t speak for themselves.”
A basket auction, iPad raffle, and refreshments were included in the event. Dogs available for adoption were also present.
Safe at Last has adoption events at Family Video from 4 to 9 p.m. the first Saturday of every month.
Safe at Last Dog Rescue was founded in October 2011 to find new homes for animals from area pounds, those no longer wanted by their owners, or strays that members find.
To date, the Mahoning County-based group has found homes for more than 55 dogs and has 25 in foster homes.
For more information, go to www.safeatlast.petfinder.com http://www.safeatlast.petfinder.com/ .