Watch Tip: Extreme Cold

Posted on January 9th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

wwtips_a2URGENT: Extreme cold kills tethered dogs and cats, especially those animals without heavy coats, the malnourished, the very young and the elderly. Watch for animals that don’t have adequate shelter and speak with owners or call the authorities immediately.

Owners remove their bodies immediately to avoid being charged with neglect

Only the truly ignorant get charged, because they don’t think to remove the bodies of their frozen dogs and cats. In Spartanville, South Carolina, a man didn’t remove the bodies of 5 puppies and 1 adult dog, all frozen to death, all showing signs of starvation. He faces charges for inhumane treatment, unlicensed dogs, unlicensed dog breeding, failure to provide rabies shots, and of course, failure to dispose of dead bodies.

If a neighbor of yours finds the family dog frozen to death, you probably will only see an empty doghouse. You might wonder what happened. Your only hope should be that they don’t get another one who may suffer the same fate: hours of bone chilling cold, shivering, hard shivering, hypothermia, and death.

Don’t think that dogs are the only victims. Cats are sometimes tethered too. All animals who are not free to seek shelter from wind, cold, and precipitation, are at risk. Even buffalo can die in extreme conditions.

What can you do? Today? Drive to the doghouses that you know of and check to see if they are insulated with hay or straw. Old blankets, rugs, or newspapers won’t insulate; they don’t trap air. Check for adequate food and unfrozen water. Check for jutting hip bones and ribs. Check for shivering. Take your cell phone and Sunbear Squad Wallet Card with phone numbers to call the authorities. Your state likely has strict laws that require adequate shelter, and these days, neglect laws are enforced more often than not. [Photo from Dogs Deserve Better, a national organization that fights tethering of dogs; please note the frost on his fur and whiskers and his sad expression.]

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