Photo of dog dragging weights sparks outrage, but it's legal in - KMOV.com

Photo of dog dragging weights sparks outrage, but it's legal in Mo.

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This photo is sparking outrage, but Missouri law says what happening in it is legal. Credit: KMOV This photo is sparking outrage, but Missouri law says what happening in it is legal. Credit: KMOV
SOUTH ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -

A picture on social media of a dog dragging weights has people upset, but what's happening in the pictures is legal under Missouri Animal Protection Laws. 

The picture was taken in the Bevo neighborhood in South City. Kathy Venegoni saw the two people with the dog in front of her house on the 5000 block of Ulena Ave. She took a picture.

"I just cried and cried. My stomach felt like a pit was in it," said Venegoni, who did not want to show her face on camera, but did want to get the message out there that she does not approve of this treatment of animals. "He's just a puppy. It was the worst thing I've ever seen. I've seen cruelty before, but that was absolutely horrifying," said Venegoni. 

From looking on, Venegoni believed the weights amounted to the same weight of the dog.

"I would say about 25 pounds worth of weights, that dog alone probably was 25-30 lbs," said Venegoni. She also described the dog getting the weights stuck along the uneven sidewalk. "[They] kept trying to pull and they wouldn't help him get past that large crack," said Venegoni. 

Venegoni was so upset by what she witnessed, she confronted the two people with the dog and told them to stop.

"They said to me, 'We are training him. This is how we train animals,'" said Venegoni. This is exactly how Missouri Law views this situation as well. The state's animal protection law says that it does not prohibit "the training of dogs or use of equipment in training of dogs."

Humane Society of Missouri tells News 4 that unless the dog is severely underweight or injured because of the weights and not being treated, they cannot prevent what is happening in the photo. HSOM also provided a formal statement to News 4 regarding this situation. Venegoni has filed a report with them.

“The Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force investigates all reports of animal abuse and neglect.  Currently, this situation is an on-going investigation.  Typically our investigators discuss with the pet owner standards of appropriate care for their pets according to state law to ensure the well-being of the animal.”

St. Louis Metropolitan Police tell News 4 that this is considered a "sport" that is not illegal. However, if there are clear signs the dog is in distress and further investigation reveals it was a result of the weights, animal cruelty charges could be filed. 

However, to Venegoni, this isn't over. She wants to find the people responsible to give their names to police.

"I have every intention of knocking on every door because I know they live here. They live in this neighborhood," said Venegoni. 

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