Anticlimactic update: neighbors (who apparently still live in the house) have taken to chaining up the dog in the yard. when he is outside. We still haven't seen them, so we haven't had an opportunity to speak with them, but perhaps they read ehell? The poor dog still tries to run over to our yard, but is thwarted by his chain. It is a good update in that he now is in his own yard, but I feel terrible for him We called animal control, but they are not able to act unless there is clear abuse, and a lonely dog tied up in a yard does not qualify, unfortunately.
Err, but a dog needs shelter and water at all times? If he is chained up without either, then that is grounds for abuse.
Sadly, the animal control worker said that it would need to be an extended period of time without food and water (and I am honestly not sure that he is without food and water while chained, but I'm guessing they probably haven't left him anything), not just an afternoon/day, and that shelter must be provided when the elements require it. So far, there hasn't been any rain or extreme temperature while he's out there. The animal control worker agreed that it was too bad, but said that their hands are tied. Most shelters here are not no-kill, so things wouldn't be so great for him if animal control picked him up, anyway. I wish I could do something for the little guy Thanks for all of the advice and replies!
There is something you can do but... you could leave a note taped to their door about how their dog seemed to enjoy playing with your dogs. Would they be interested in setting up playdates? The playdates could be all day or for whatever time amount you feel comfortable with doing.
And the But.. you would have to watch him, know what shots he has, what flea meds he is on*.. and basically take on having a 3rd dog.
Or you could surreptitiously go over 3 times a day and make sure he has water, shade and food (once a day). If any of those are lacking on a daily basis 3 times a day.. report them.
*You don't want your dogs to pick up fleas from him. Even though they may be on meds bites happen.. and crap gets transmitted thru flea bites.