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Humane Society warns about animals in cold weather

Updated: Wednesday, January 22 2014, 10:40 PM CST
Reported by: Christina Butler

YORK -- The cold is tough on all of us, and it can be just as bad, if not worse, on your pets. Even dogs with thick fur can be victims of frostbite or worse.

So what can you do if you see a neighborhood animal in need?As much as you may want to – you just can’t take the animal and bring him inside where it’s warm.

That’s a crime. But there are things you can do that can help the animal – and the expert we talked to says you could be saving its life. Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for the Humane Society of the United States, obviously loves animals.

“Lola is just perfect rescue and she's always been best dog ever,” Speed said.What she can’t stand is seeing or hearing about them being left in the brutal cold. 

“We recently had a case where dog froze to death inside a doghouse,” she said. 

The Pennsylvania standard for neglect is failing to provide shelter that keeps the animal dry and allows it to retain body heat.

“So it doesn't matter if it's the biggest fanciest most beautiful dog house in the world. If it's not insulated or heated and you've got a Chihuahua in the doghouse the size of a husky it's not sufficient to allow that talk to keep his body so that is a violation of the animal cruelty code and should be reported,” she said. 

If you see a neighborhood pet left in the elements, she advises trying to talk to the owner.

If that doesn’t work, “If you can find it in your home and heart to offer some shelter for the animal to get it through the cold weather and work something out in the morning by all means. Do not take the dog, that is a prosecutable offense. You can be charged for stealing someone else's dog, so please don't do that,” she said.

But do follow through. Call the SPCA, Humane League, or the police. police. “If the animal is clearly in distress – shivering, panting, not responding to voice calls -- then obviously that animal is in trouble,” and that’s a case of neglect and the owner can be cited,” Speed said.

And while they may find easier places to hide, cats are just as susceptible to cold. Speed says there are hundreds of easy and cheap cat houses online. 

“One I saw recently was a Rubbermaid container -- cut out a hole, put straw or blankets, set outside. Now you have a safe haven for neighborhood cats,” she said.
Humane Society warns about animals in cold weather

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