Leaving animals in freezing temps could leave you with fines

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 4:06 PM CST
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(KXII) -With subfreezing temperatures sweeping thru Texoma, people are staying in and bundling up– and your furry friends should do the same.

Sherman Police Sergeant Brett Mullen said, “this extreme cold, bring your dogs inside, if not in your home then you have to provide them with an area where they can get out of the freezing temperatures”

In January, the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act was passed, which protects dogs from extreme temperatures, inclement weather, and standing water, by requiring adequate shelter from owners.

“Definitely applies to our current weather we’re experiencing,” said Sgt. Mullen.

The act also requires access to drinking water, “it can freeze over,” said Savannah Grace, Office Manager at 49th Street Veterinary Clinic.

The last component of the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act is requiring safe restraints, this prohibits the use of chains.

If you don’t follow this law, “you could be subject to a Class C misdemeanor, which is basically a citation, but if you have a previous conviction of it, it could be bumped to a Class B misdemeanor, which would include possibly jail time and fines,” Sgt. Mullen said.

If the animal is harmed or dies from this neglect, “if your conduct also violates like cruelty to animals you could also be charged under that law which could be a Class A misdemeanor all the way to a third degree felony,” said Sgt. Mullen.

And if you have an older dog that’s arthritic, you might want to take extra precautions.

Savannah Grace said, “that cold is going to affect them the same way it affects humans that are arthritic, it makes them really slow to get up, it’s very very painful and so if you can definitely take them to a vet, get them medication that they need and keep them warm.”

When in doubt if it’s too cold for your dog, “just think if you are really cold outside and you are bundling up, your pet is going to be the same way,” Grace added.