DENVER -- A group of southwest Denver neighbors stepped up to ensure a neglected and sick dog was removed from its owners' care.
The dog, Sargent, was reportedly forced to live in a backyard tied to a tree with a doghouse as its only shelter.
While neighbors contacted Denver Animal Protection, the city said it could not take the animal away from the owners because it had water, food and shelter. The city also said it was requiring weekly check-ups for medication.
"We always try to work with the owner to try and come into compliance and get the dog healthy again," said Lt. Joshua Rolfe with Denver Animal Protection, saying the city was concerned about the animal's health. "Just because they don't physically see us taking the animal away from someone, doesn't mean that we're not following up on it."
Jenny Parsons, who lives in the area, was motivated to take action because of how Sargent looked. He was malnourished and missing most of his hair due to mange.
"When I first met him, he was depressed. He was hopeless, really," she said.
Parsons posted about Sargent on NextDoor. She and some other neighbors went to the owners' home and convinced them to release Sargent to a Denver-area rescue called Nikeno's Second Chances. The shelter provides microchipping, vaccinations and training with each adoption.
"This didn't happen overnight. I feel this has been going on for quite some time," founder Gina Krehbiel said.
Parsons said Sargent's condition has improved since he arrived at the rescue.
"He was exhausted. Now, he's full of life. He's friendly, he's outgoing, he's intelligent. He's going to make a fantastic dog," said Parsons, who added that Sargent's story should serve as a wake-up call.
"We need to change the laws so it's not just a doghouse, but adequate shelter. I really think he would have died if we wouldn't have got him out that day. If not that night, the next night," said Parsons.
A GoFundMe account has been established to cover Sargent's care, veterinarian needs, food and supplies.AlertMe