Q. I reside in a town where it is illegal to feed stray animals including dogs. There is a stray dog that from time to time shows up in our front yard and definitely looks as starving. I have called the designated authorities to take care of it, but by the time they show up the dog is long gone.
Out of simple compassion and feeling of tzaar baalei chaim can I feed it, after having called the authorities?
Can I feed it on Shabbos?
A. Mishna Berura (324: 11) rules that one may feed a stray dog during Shabbos since there is some mitzva to feed it. He quotes the Talmud that Hashem showed compassion for dogs since their food sources are rare, and slowed down their process of digestion so they won’t become that hungry.
However, Mishna Berura warns to feed dogs that may be harmful and cause damage. (Bava Kama 79b, Shulchan Arucn C.M. 409: 31).
Horav Dovid Pam’s Shlit’a opinion is that considering the above, it may be more correct not to feed that dog.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Rabbonim at the Toronto Kollel