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‘He deserves a better life:’ Officials seize dog left outside in bitter cold, sparking legal battle

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GALESBURG, Ill. -- The brutal, deadly cold that moved into the Midwest last week was dangerous for people and animals, and neighbors in Illinois were concerned about a dog in their neighborhood left outside in a backyard in the elements. The help they were finally able to get for the dog has led to a legal fight.

On Tuesday night, Jan. 29, most took shelter as temperatures plummeted to -5°, with the wind chill hitting -30°. A neighbor who asked not to show their face said while everyone was inside, Maverick the dog was out in the cold.

"He's out there 24/7. It doesn't matter. The mailmen aren't even out in this, and for him to have to be?" said the neighbor.

It was the latest in what the neighbor called an ongoing battle for nearly three years. A few neighbors said they've fought hard to help Maverick.

"I can't tell you how many nights I've laid awake thinking 'why can't they just see what we see?' The bowl that they have for water is frozen. The summer, he has flies in his food," said a neighbor.

On Tuesday night, their calls for help were finally answered, thanks to a new state law meant to protect pets if law enforcement officers believe they are in danger.

"They got him! They got him! We don't have to worry. Because we were really, really concerned," said a neighbor.

Maverick was taken out of a doghouse, and to the Knox County Humane Society in Galesburg, Illinois.

"If they don't have fresh water and food and warm house to stay in, they're going to freeze and it's a terrible death," said Rox Parks, Knox County Humane Society board.

Shelter officials said they hope Maverick can stay.

"He's very loving. He's very playful. He deserves a better life than being abused," said Parks.

Maverick's story has taken social media by storm, with people offering to give him a new life, and pay whatever it takes to give him a new home.

"We've had a lot of public outcry saying do not give this beautiful dog back to these horrible owners, and we're standing ground on this situation," aid Parks.

While the new law in Illinois allowed officials to seize the dog and take him into temporary protective custody, it doesn't mean they can keep him, which is why shelter officials turned to the Knox County state attorney.

"So far the dog is on hold," said Parks.

For now, Maverick is in good hands, and shelter officials said they would continue fighting to keep it that way.

Meanwhile, when reached for comment, the dog's owner called the accusations of neglect against him lies. He said he intends to get his dog back.

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