A dog left in the cold is quickly taking social media by storm.
Now the local shelter that took him in doesn’t want to give him back.
The Knox County Humane Society in Galesburg shared the story of Maverick on their Facebook on Wednesday.
Staff members say the dog was seized from a home in Abington, Illinois after multiple complaints of neglect.
One of those neighbors, who asked not to be identified, said the dog is left outside year-round.
They added that when temperatures hit below freezing on Tuesday night, the dog was left chained up outside in the cold.
The dog’s story has already been shared on Facebook more than 1,200 times. In their post, the shelter said “Please help us help him and all hopeless animals like him. You are their only voice. We need a public out cry.”
On Thursday, the shelter said they’re hoping if enough people speak up he won’t be sent back home.
Despite the temperatures plummeting to five below with a windchill of -30, the neighbor says while everyone took shelter inside Maverick was left out in the cold.
“He’s out there 24-7 it doesn’t matter,” said the neighbor. “The mailmen aren’t even out in this and for him to have to be? All we do is think of him and wonder about him.”
It’s the latest in what she calls an on-going battle of nearly three years as a few neighbors say they’ve fought hard to help the dog.
The neighbor says she and two others have regularly brought food, water and straw to keep the dog warm. She says they’ve reported the situation to the police multiple times, but were told the dog had ‘adequate living conditions.’
“I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve laid awake thinking ‘why can’t they just see what we see?’ when we go over there and the bowl they have for water is frozen, in the summer he has flies in his food,” said the neighbor.
But on Tuesday night, their call was finally answered.
“I said they got him, they got him! We don’t have to worry. Because we were really concerned.”
Maverick, a mix believed to be about 3 years old, was taken out of the dog house and to the Knox County Humane Society.
“If they don’t have fresh water and food and a warm house to stay in they’re going to freeze and it’s a terrible death,” said Roxi Parks, Knox County Humane Society Board President.
On Thursday, the shelter said they hope he can stay.
“He’s very sweet,” said Parks. “And I understand that some people have been looking after him like getting food to him otherwise they said he would’ve been skin and bones. So I thank those people that looked after Maverick because he would not be in the condition he’s in now. He’s very loving, he’s very playful, he deserves a better life than being abused.”
Since posting to Facebook, the shelter has been flooded with responses of 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 our ground on this situation,” said Parks.
But while a new law in Illinois allows the shelter to take the dog, it doesn’t say they can keep him. That’s why the shelter says they’ve turned to the Knox County State’s Attorney.
“The owner wants the dog back and we are waiting on our State’s Attorney to have an answer on that,” said Parks. “So far the dog is on hold.”
For now, Maverick is waiting out the cold in good hands and the shelter says they’ll keep fighting to keep it that way.
Local 4 News reached out to Maverick’s owner. He says in part that the accusations are lies and that the dog is an outdoor dog with plenty of straw, food and water.
He added that the dog is not up for adoption, and he fully intends on taking the dog back.
Local 4 News will update this story as we learn more.