If you’re like me and many dog lovers out there, your dog is probably living a better life than you. He enjoys the benefits of veterinary health insurance while you still stand in line at the clinic. He eats only the best organic dry food while you gobble up cheap produce. At night he takes up more than his share of the bed, wrapped snuggly in the most expensive blanket in the house, while you lie uncomfortably pressed between the edge of the bed and the wall.
Well, it turns out not everyone is as enlightened as we are! According to both The New York Daily News and ABC News on the afternoon of January 24 WABC-TV reporter Toni Yates and her camera crew were in a residential New Jersey neighborhood shooting footage for a story when they noticed a dog outside alone on the front porch of a house. The medium-sized adorable mutt had been left on cold concrete and was shivering from the biting winter weather. They were concerned, but figuring there probably wasn’t much they could do, they continued on to their next location. Hours later they passed by the same house again, only to see that the dog was still outside. Temperatures were predicted to drop as low as 12 degrees Fahrenheit that night and apparently this dog was the second chilly dog the news crew had noticed in the neighborhood that day. Thankfully, the first dog’s owners had eventually come home, but if they had already seen two freezing helpless hounds in one neighborhood on one day, they could only imagine how many more there could be.
Armed with a news crew and a twitter account, Yates decided to give the frosty Fidos of the world a voice. At 4:38 PM she tweeted Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker with the following, “#pets cold Yay! Newark for its heat help. Make pet owners get their dogs out of the cold. Saw 2 dogs freezing @eyewitnessabc7@CoryBooker.” Soon enough, concerned citizens began re-tweeting the message to Booker and by 7:56 PM the Mayor had arrived on the scene to personally help the neglected canine, with police officers in tow.
They soon found out that the dog’s name was Cha Cha. As Booker stroked the trembling animal he spoke to WABC-TV News, “This is brutal weather. This dog is shaking really badly and you just can’t leave your dog out here on a day like this and go away and expect them to be OK. Hypothermia on any animal including a human animal will set in pretty quickly. So this is very sad. You can just feel the dog shaking pretty badly.”
Booker wasn’t just throwing around hyperboles. Thousands of dogs die every year from being left out in the yard during extreme weather. When Melody Whitworth, a representative from Dogs Deserve Better, an award-winning nonprofit national organization was asked to define what’s too hot or too cold for a dog, she answered, “It is generally appropriate to have dogs outside in temperatures that range from 40 to 80 degrees.”
Whatever temperature it was, it was obviously way too cold for poor Cha Cha. The Mayor hastily swept up the dog in his arms and carried him to the nearby squad car. As he placed the pup in the back seat he said to the driver, “If you’d crank up the heat I’d appreciate it.” Booker then called the owner (whose cell phone number had finally been obtained) and reproved the young man for his actions. The owner claimed that he was
in Queens visiting friends and did not know that his dog was outside. He recounted his phone call with Mayor Booker to WABC-TV News, “And I’m like, he’s like, yes this is Corey Booker, and I’m like Hi! Yeah. And I’m like, Who?! Why he callin’ me?! And he tells me about Chach outside and I’m like yes of course.”
Since Booker is known to have his sights on the Senate, cynics and party poopers everywhere have dismissed the dog rescue as a political stunt. This is understandable since this is by no means the first we have seen of Booker’s Good Samaritan routine. In April he pulled a woman out of her burning home. In June he was one of the first people to tend to a pedestrian who had been mowed down by a car in traffic. Inarguably, a suspicious amount of good deeds attributed to one individual in such a short time frame is bound to raise some eyebrows. However, at the end of the day, what does it really matter as long as Cha Cha’s teeth have stopped chattering?
Written by Chloe Taylor