That was something I had to get used to when I moved to Alabama. I would see a dog running down the side of a rural road with no collar and I would want to catch it. In my mind it's a stray. My BF would argue with me that it belonged to someone it was common. Sure enough I would follow the dog home to it's house.I had heard it all before, in this area especially, up until the part about not leaving food or water. Actually not sure why an uncontained dog would hang around where there is no food. That's why I think if it's true, someone else is feeding the dog those "3 or 4 days" when its not around.
My parents don't believe that animals belong in the house. We had outdoor cats when I was a kid. We fed them and my parents fixed the females but not the males. A couple of times they got injured and we took them to the vet, but one was badly injured once and my dad shot her. I disagree with that whole mentality, but I'm definitely used to it.
I was donating some old rugs and towels to a shelter one time and while I was there a gentleman brought his dog in. It hat bitten a kid and he didn't want to pay for the quarantine so he was bringing it there to be put to sleep. The poor dog was thin and just mats of fur. Looked like it hadn't been brushed in years. When the shelter said they couldn't do that, the mans reply was i will just take it to the woods and shoot it. I stepped in at that point and offered to pay for whatever was needed but the shelter ended up taking the dog in the end.
I work with so many people who don't believe dogs belong inside and think it's crazy I have 3 dogs all over 40lbs that live inside with me.