MARTINDALE, Texas (KXAN) - It is a small patch of land in the middle of a flood plain inMartindale, just outside of San Marcos. On it, you will find manytattered, discarded objects, a broken-down fence and three dogs -all on separate chains, on different parts of the property.
"They're just stuck out there," said Ed Cooper, who is stayingat a home next to the property. "Nobody lives there, nobody visitsthem. I don't know why they are there, but they're obviouslysuffering."
Watch below as Jenny Hoff shows you what the scene looks like:
Cooper has joined other members of the community in bringing hayto keep the dogs warm and occasional food, to make sure they areeating. Although this group of activists has spread into Austin andeven other parts of the country, Martindale's police chief JeffCaldwell said there is nothing illegal about the dogs'accomodations.
"We got complaints," Caldwell said. "And, we've been going byand doing regular checks just to make sure the dogs are not indistress. We've had the animal control officer over to check onthem. He said the dogs are happy and healthy, and there's not aproblem with them."
Caldwell admits it is not a situation he would keep his own dogsin, but he said there is nothing he can legally do at thispoint.
"If somebody witnesses abuse, let us know and we will look intoit," said Caldwell.
The owner of the property was not available for comment.
Martindale resident Elizabeth Cumberland said that is notenough.
"If nothing happens, then the situation will just continue," shesaid. "The dogs are on a chain. They cannot leave."
Cumberland said she has seen the dogs outside on the propertyfor months. She and other neighbors claim they are never playedwith, they are always tied up and rarely fed. Once the temperaturehit the teens, she reached out to Austin animal-rightsactivists.
AustinPets Alive's Chris Schulman showed up Sunday night with acamera to take a look for himself.
"They are not OK," he said. "For one thing, it is cold. Foranother, I don't see any food or water. Third, dogs are socialanimals. These dogs are all chained where they can barely hear eachother, maybe not even see each other."
Schulman said when he first saw the dogs, one of them had such ashort chain, they could not reach the nearby shelter when it wascold outside. By Monday, the chain had been changed to a muchlonger one.
** UPDATE ON Jan. 13 - After this story aired, the owner relinquished the dogs to the people that were concerned about their well-being. They are fostering them until they find a good home. **
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