I received a call from her at an odd time while she was away though, which always raises a question mark, right? And sure enough she was somewhat distraught. Thankfully it wasn't due to any harm coming to her or any member of her family.
While driving on the highway, they (Christine and her sisters) came upon a minivan. Its occupants, for undetermined and highly illogical reasons, had decided to keep their dog in a carrying case. That's fine, except that the case was strapped to the outside of the vehicle.
Because of high winds, particularly in a moving vehicle (and in a brewing storm, an indication in itself that the case-on-the-roof plan is not real sound), choice words that Christine had for these people were not hitting the mark.
So she called 9-1-1. :-)
She asked to speak with police, was transferred, explained to the person who took her call where she was and the situation she was looking to report. To their credit, the police took her complaint seriously and said they were sending a car out.
Out of curiosity, the ladies followed the car in question and sure enough, within minutes, a cop had pulled the minivan over for a chat.
Unfortunately, we don't know how the story ends, exactly. I suspect they were asked to remove the case and bring it inside the vehicle, but that no punishment as such was delivered. And it may well be that a couple of miles down the road, the driver returned the case to its previous position and went on his merry way, cursing the carload that ratted him out. We were hoping for a follow-up call to let us know how it was handled but this point we haven't received one.
But at least it serves as an illustration of how to go about dealing with one of these situations. For animal lovers, seeing that kind of idiocy is infuriating and the first instinct might well be to get more directly involved. Admittedly, it might be mine.
Don't. Let the professionals handle it. Even PETA, recognized for their hands-on approach, would suggest this. In an e-mail to people on the mailing lists, here's what they recommend:
Find out which agency is responsible for investigating and enforcing anti-cruelty laws in your state, county, or town. This may be a local humane society or a taxpayer-funded animal shelter. In areas without such organizations, citizens should call the police or sheriff's department.
If an animal is in a life-threatening situation, call authorities immediately. Follow up with them in a timely manner to determine their findings and their planned course of action. If they do not respond right away, call PETA at 757-622-7382.
Still, we may try to keep on top of this one. I'm wondering if there's a way to find out what the outcome was, and if so, we'll do just that.