‘I’m not doing anything abusive to my animals’

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Pet owner outraged after anonymous writer leaves accusatory note on Jeep

By Meaghan Downs

Buddy is a smart dog, owner and Meadowlark Drive resident Amy Cubert said.
A blue heeler and Labrador mix, the nearly 11-year-old Buddy comes and goes as he pleases through a doggy door slot installed in Cubert’s garage door and into a fenced side yard.
According to one anonymous letter left on Cubert’s vehicle, however, Cubert’s treatment of her pet is “ignorant” and “uneducated” and she’s passing on a tradition of “cruelty” to her children.
“This may end up being nothing, other than someone putting their 2 cents in,” Cubert said Monday morning of the letter, standing in her kitchen with Buddy and her 18-year-old black Labrador Lucy sleeping on the floor.
“But they’re not brave enough to come to my front door or put their name on something like that.”
Cubert said she had gone out to dinner last Thursday night, and got back to her home in Sycamore Estates — where she said she’s lived since 2011 — at about 10 p.m.
When she walked to her parked Jeep on the way to run errands last Friday morning, Cubert said she found an anonymous letter from “Animal Advocate” covered in frost and placed underneath her windshield wipers.
The handwritten letter’s contents describe the writer’s and his or her children’s distraught at Cubert leaving her dog Buddy outside in the cold, saying that if Cubert didn’t learn to take care of her dog, she could get Buddy taken away from her.
“By law, pets must have shelter especially against wind. There is a hefty fine …
“Please think of your dog, not to mention you are passing this cruelty as acceptable to your children,” the anonymous author wrote to Cubert.
This is the first time she’s ever received this type of letter, Cubert said.
Last Thursday night was one of the coldest so far this winter, Cubert said, bringing temperatures several degrees below zero with the wind chill.
Although she understands the concern, Cubert vehemently denies the accusations spelled out in the letter, saying her dog is able to come and go as he pleases and that he’s never outside long enough for it to be physically dangerous for her pet.
Buddy’s breed has a legacy of being a working dog, she added, and those dogs are used to winter temperatures. Her dog always has access to unfrozen water and shelter in the garage, but she’s not going to force Buddy to come inside all day.
“Short of keeping (Buddy and Lucy) inside and locked inside and confined, which I’m never going to do, there’s nothing to change,” Cubert said.
If Buddy does go outside, it’s because he hears a loud noise or motor and wants to investigate, Cubert said.
He’s a nosy dog, and likes to check up on what’s going on outside. He may have heard the anonymous letter writer in question and went outside to see who it was, Cubert said.
 “Depends on how he feels … if he hears a FedEx or UPS truck, Buddy goes out for that because it’s a loud motor,” she said.
Cubert said she takes the letter very seriously, and is angry about the fact that the writer didn’t contact her face-to-face instead of leaving a note in the middle of the night.
Cubert said she also takes offense at the fact that she’s being scolded for allegedly leaving her pets outside when the letter writer apparently had a child out with him or her in the same weather.
She said she later found adult footprints and small footprints Cubert assumes to be a child’s in the snow along the outside of her fenced yard, along with Buddy’s paw prints on the other side of the fence.
“But to walk past my house and for five minutes assume I’ve left my dog outside … I’m more concerned about the child walking with them through the snow and the dangerous wind chills,” Cubert said.
Keith Beasley, an Anderson County animal control officer, said Anderson County Animal Control has received several calls in the past few weeks about animals being left out in the cold, but about 90 percent of them are usually misunderstandings.
Beasley said it’s not illegal to leave a dog outside as long as the animal has an adequate doghouse or shelter. Dogs cannot be left outside longer than one hour without shelter according to ordinance, Beasley said.
Charging someone with animal cruelty would depend upon the situation once animal control had investigated, he said.
Cubert said no one from animal control has stopped by her home since receiving the Jan. 25 letter and she’s received no phone calls or additional correspondence about the treatment of her dogs.
Cubert said she would have rather addressed the writer’s complaints face-to-face, and is unable to do so because she doesn’t know who wrote the letter.
And if she were able to speak with the anonymous letter writer, she’d explain the situation, and then tell the writer to mind his or her own business.
“Until they start paying my bills, they can’t tell me what to do,” Cubert said. “I’m not doing anything illegal or abusive to my animals.”
“They’re sticking their nose in somebody’s business where it doesn’t belong. They’re wrong. Period. And I bet I don’t get an apology.”


Read it for yourself
Editor’s note: This is the text of the note Amy Cubert received from an unknown letter writer on the morning of Jan. 25. The letter has been copied, including misspellings, in its entirety. Cubert said she does not know the age, name or gender of the writer.

Dear Neighbor:
My children and I are very distraught at your pet being outside in these bitter cold temps.
Dogs are not farm beasts. They cannot endure these temperatures!
If you cannot understand this or do not have the ability to care for a family pet perhaps you can find a better home for your dog.
“Other people” do this is an ignorant response. There are many ignorant & uneducated people in the world.
By law, pets must have shelter especially against wind. There is a hefty fine …
Please think of your dog, not to mention you are passing this cruelty as acceptable to your children.
Also water freezes (in case you didn’t know) so your dog is without water all day. Unacceptable.
Please think! I am not alone in these concerns. Your dog can be taken away.
Thank you.
Please act …,
Animal Adovcate