On Jan. 27, two state police troopers knocked on the front door of the Griebs’ Mount Eagle home at 12:30 a.m. The troopers explained that they again had received calls about Ruger, who lives outside tethered by a long chain to a heated dog box for shelter.
The Griebs had been through the routine before.
Earlier in the month, during an extreme cold snap when overnight temperatures plunged below zero, state police twice responded to a flurry of concerned calls about Ruger.
Both times, police inspected his straw-lined, shingled shelter, checked him and left without taking further action.
Soon after, the Griebs said, they made changes despite their belief everything was fine before.
According to them, they bought a heated dish once the state dog warden for Centre County, Tammy Owens, paid them a visit soon after the police came. The Griebs said Owens noted frozen water, a violation of state laws which stipulate pets or livestock need access to fresh water.
At the same time, the Griebs installed an extension line from their home down to Ruger’s house and placed a heated mat inside to go with his straw and door flap.
“We thought that would end it,” Mark Grieb said.
But the third police visit, which the Griebs said ended amicably like the previous ones, told them otherwise.
“That was the last straw,” Mark Grieb said.
He and his wife, who live at the end of their remote hamlet, suspect neighbors continue to call the police and spur, through Facebook, concern from local people opposed to keeping dogs outside.
“We have not had a single neighbor call us,” Diane Grieb said.
Fed up with the police visits, the Griebs want the community to know their German shepherd fares well outdoors, isn’t suffering and prefers his quarters to being inside. They contend he’s a loved pet, not neglected or mistreated.
“Just because our dog is outside doesn’t mean we don’t care for him,” Diane Grieb said.