It blows our minds how some human being can be so cruel... intentionally. Temperatures across the country are well below freezing across most of the country. It's very important that all pet owners and pet advocated take a second to remind pet lovers and the others that if it is too cold outside for you... it's too cold out side for our 4 legged friends!
- Animal neglect is considered a misdemeanor crime in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
- Felony penalties can be levied in Massachusetts and Oklahoma for any animal neglect case.
- Felony charges can be applied in animal neglect resulting in death in California, Connecticut, Florida and Washington, D.C.
Source: Humane Society of America
Below is an example of what can happen when innocent animals are left out in the cold. It can be a crime to leave pets outside in extreme temperatures without food and shelter.
It's very important for people to take their pets inside. So what do you do if you see a pet left out in the cold? Follow these steps from the Humane Society of America to report winter time neglect:
- Report what you see: Take note of the date, time, exact location and the type of animal(s) involved and write down as many details as possible about the situation. Video and photographic documentation of the animal, the location, the surrounding area, etc. (even a cell phone photo) will help bolster your case.
- Contact your local animal control agency or county sheriff's office and present your complaint and evidence. Take detailed notes regarding whom you speak with and when. Respectfully follow up in a few days if the situation has not been remedied.
- If you need advice, call The HSUS or email them. Note: They aren't a law-enforcement agency, they cannot take legal action, but they can provide expert counsel.
- If you have pets, follow their advice for keeping them safe in cold weather.
- Support the Humane Society of America to protect all animals, in all four seasons!
When in doubt report Animal Cruelty! Click HERE for more info!
Source: Humane Society of America
The following tips from the ASPCA are a must ready for any animal owner or potential animal owners:
'Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:
- Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
- Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
- Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
- Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
- Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
- Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
- Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
- Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
- Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.'
The American Veterinary Medical Association has these tips for Cold Weather Pet Safety CLICK HERE!
How to care for Outdoor Cats during the winter CLICK HERE!
PetMD has 8 Tips for caring for your pet this winter CLICK HERE!
ALSO: Many animal shelters across the country get filled up pretty fast after the holidays... Having a pet is a 15+ year commitment... don't give animals as gifts for the holidays. If you'd like to adopt an animal please visit your local shelter to adopt one of the millions of homeless pets looking for their furever home! CLICK HERE for more info!
Photo Credits: Getty Images
Special thanks to the ASPCA and Humane Society of America.