Owners say husky mix prefers to be outside, ask people to stop complaining

A Charlottetown couple who have been receiving numerous complaints from people worried their dog Riley is cold when left outside are asking to be left alone, noting their pet is fine and the humane society says they're abiding by the law.

Charlottetown couple put up sign to let people know their dog is OK spending part of his day outside

'I think people are just not totally educated about the breed,' says one of Riley's owners, Charlottetown veterinary student Courtney Porter. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

A Charlottetown couple who have been receiving numerous complaints from people worried their dog Riley is cold when left outside is asking to be left alone. 

The two say the dog, which they describe as a husky mix, prefers the outdoors, so they've put a sign on their lawn that says, "The husky is not cold! Leave us alone."

They leave Riley tethered to a tree on a line at various times during the day, said owner Courtney Porter. She said the longest he is unsupervised outside is four hours in the morning, and the rest of the time he's in and out as much as he wishes.

He stays inside at night.

The tether is designed to prevent the dog from getting wound around the tree, she said.

Porter and her partner are students. She is studying to be a veterinarian at the Atlantic Veterinary College. They moved to Charlottetown from Deer Lake, N.L., a couple of years ago with Riley, which was adopted from the humane society.

"He's a wild dog that was found in the woods. He has a lot of separation anxiety because he was separated from his mother at such a young age," Porter said. 

Porter and her partner put this sign on their lawn to tell people to stop complaining that Riley is outdoors part of the day. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

Porter said the dog gets too hot inside, is high energy and will try to break out if left alone in the house. 

"We would have to medicate him if we had to force him to stay inside, which would be unfortunate," she said. 

Humane society investigates

The P.E.I. Humane Society received multiple complaints from people worried Riley needed shelter. Under the provincial Animal Welfare Act, animals must be provided with adequate food, water and shelter.

'He's in and out lots, so it's not always how it appears,' says Porter about Riley. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

The case is now closed because the couple finally installed a dog house for Riley, the society said.

At first, the couple resisted buying one for him because he would not use it, but did so because they were told to, Porter said. 

"I think we need to be doing less just to please the community and more to educate the community," she said. 

The society said if it hears further complaints, it would do its due diligence and check, but would also advise complainants that the owners are abiding by the law. 

'Not always how it appears'

Porter hopes people will stop watching their house, taking photos of Riley and making complaints to the society.

Porter and her partner bought a house in Hillsborough Park in suburban Charlottetown because they couldn't find a place that would rent to them with Riley. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

"Our dog isn't outside all day — it looks like he's outside for hours and hours on end, but it's because he's in and out lots, so it's not always how it appears," Porter said.  

Porter said the couple has thought about installing a fence, but Riley is able to jump quite high and also likes to dig.

He will occasionally bark if he sees another animal, Porter said, but usually sits quietly in the snow and watches traffic. Schoolchildren come by when school gets out and play with him, she said. "He's very friendly — over friendly. 

"I think people are just not totally educated about the breed." 

The couple said that when they moved to P.E.I. a couple of years ago, they were unable to find a place to rent because they had Riley, so bought a house so they could keep him.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Isabella Zavarise


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