ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — A Rock Island meter reader noticed the emaciated dog chained in a backyard in the cold, and told his mom to call police.
She did, and also called her friend and pit bull advocate, Cindy VanLandegen to try and help the animal.
"It's horrific. It's horrific. Chained up in 27 degree weather. How is that okay?," VanLandegen said after seeing the pit bull for herself.
"If you don't want to stand out here with a chain around your neck in 27 degrees, neither does your dog," VanLandegan said.
The dog's ribs were showing, and there were sores on his body. Police say they initially opted not to take the dog because the officer saw food and water and a dog house, but VanLandegen says a 2016 law now makes it a crime to expose pets to extreme heat or cold.
"Under Illinois code, the condition this dog was in and how this dog was being treated, I'm convinced it's illegal and these people need to be cited," said VanLandegen.
"The police department needs some education when it come to our animal welfare laws," she said.
VanLandegen says after the first police call, she texted a friend on the police force who then helped initiate a second visit, this time, with Animal Control in tow, who took the dog to the county shelter.
"It's citizens who are often jumping in. Please, I'm begging people in these extreme temperatures to bring your dog inside," she said.
The dog's owner was not home at the time, but relatives living in the home helped lead him to the animal control van.
When asked why the dog was left outside in temperatures with a windchill in the high teens, one young woman said, "I don't even like to talk to people, I spit on people."