A dog that’s been living in the basement of a Shoreline house for most of four years â€” the past two months with its owner out of town â€” might be closer to being freed, a spokeswoman for King County Regional Animal Services said Tuesday.
Christine Lange said the agency has a meeting scheduled with the man who occasionally feeds the dog and, if necessary, might pursue a search warrant to enter the house on 23rd Avenue Northeast and rescue the dog. But she said the agency is attempting to have the man, the owner’s ex-husband, release the dog to a shelter so it can eventually be adopted.
“If negotiations break down,” Lange said, “then we’ll go ahead with the search warrant.”
The fluffy white-and-black dog, named Lucky, barks and throws himself at the walls when he hears humans nearby.
It’s heartbreaking for Gerry Harris, a dog owner next door who eight years ago started complaining to the owner about the dog being left alone in the back yard to bark. In answer to her complaints, the owner eventually locked the dog in the basement.
Two months ago, Harris said, the owner left town, leaving Lucky in the basement to be sporadically fed by her ex-husband. Harris said he has seen the man open the sliding glass basement door about a foot, pour dry food through, add a can of wet food and quickly leave. Lange said the man told an investigator he also gives the dog water.
The owner did not return calls from The Times on Tuesday.
Lucky has had no human companionship, neighbors say, and is living in his own waste.
The dog came to the notice of King County Regional Animal Services this week when neighbors became increasingly concerned about it and told authorities they had not seen the owner for some time.
Monday, animal services went out to the house and left a note on the door asking the owner to call. When there was no response, they began seeking solutions.
Kelly Page, of the rescue group Dogs Deserve Better, has pressured animal control to remove the dog from the home and not simply ask the owner to take dog-training classes, which was the agency’s first inclination.
Page saw photos of Lucky taken with a Telephoto lens months ago, and noticed he was dragging a leash. In photos taken Tuesday, she noted, the dog was still dragging the leash.
It hasn’t been a simple matter for animal control because the dog is on private property and has food and water, Lange said.
The state law defines animal cruelty as keeping a domestic animal without food and water. It doesn’t specifically address confining an animal for long periods of time.
“We’re just trying to find the best possible outcome,” Lange said.
Page said her group gets numerous calls about dogs tied or caged and says the state law needs to be amended to make confining animals illegal.
“We’re not going to stop until Lucky is free,” she said.