Fort Lauderdale police and Broward Animal Care and Control sent officers to a home Tuesday to investigate the health of a Doberman puppy that was reported to be tethered outside and look malnourished.
Spokespersons from both the police department and Animal Care and Control described the dog the same way after talking to their officers. They said the dog is thin, but a happy, playful puppy.
Despite the concerns of people sharing the picture on social media, police and animal control said the owner has broken no laws, but just needs to be better educated about how to care for a large dog.
Lisa Mendheim with Animal Care and Control said an officer will be sent out to the home on Wednesday for a 24-hour check, but also said that the owners were cooperative and love the dog.
"They needed education on how to feed such a big dog," said Mendheim. "A Doberman requires a lot of food, unlike a terrier."
The officer told the owners not to tether the dog outside, which the owners agreed to do and removed the tether immediately.
"Once we see the owner is cooperative and wants to work with us, we will allow the dog to stay with its owner," Mendheim said.
Deanna Greenlaw with Fort Lauderdale police said her officers found plenty of food and water, but the dog was so thin that they felt the need to call Animal Care and Control to respond.
Greenlaw said the police department has been flooded with calls accusing the department of not doing their job by taking the dog, but the county is currently the only agency that has the authority to seize a pet from its owners.
Greenlaw also said the protesters outside the home were disturbing the peace and blocking traffic, and that it was causing a problem for the neighbors.
According to Mendheim, the dog's ears were recently clipped and the owner has the dog under veterinary care.
"Another good sign that the owners are trying to care for the dog," Mendheim said.
Both spokespersons said their agencies will be following up with the owners to make sure the dog is properly cared for in the future.