Our mascot Kaxan wants to remind everyone that all pets deserve to be kept warm and dry when the weather turns extremely cold. In fact, the law requires that pets be kept with adequate food, water and shelter. See important information below from the City of Austin and the Humane Society. Remember, if it’s too cold for you to be outside for a prolonged period, it’s too cold for your pets.
Protect Your Pets During NYE Cold Front
The Animal Services Office is urging residents to protect their pets during cold weather this weekend. Always make sure your pet has a warm place to go when the temperatures drop. Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.
Bring outdoor pets inside, if possible. For those pets and livestock who cannot be brought inside, keep them warm and safe by providing shelter like a doghouse or shed with blankets or straw.
Stray pets and wildlife will be seeking warmth too. If you leave your car outside overnight, make sure to bang the hood of the car with your hand before turning on the engine. Neighborhood cats or other animals can crawl inside engines to find warmth and can be seriously injured when your car is turned on.
About the Animal Services Office
The Animal Services Office operates the Austin Animal Center, the largest municipal animal shelter in Central Texas and the largest “no-kill” shelter in the United States. We provide shelter to more than 18,000 animals annually. Our goal is to provide a safe place for lost and homeless animals and to educate our community in order to prevent animal homelessness and promote compassionate treatment of animals and responsible pet ownership.
What to do if you see a pet left out in the cold
It can be a crime to leave pets outside in extreme temperatures without food and shelter
Cold weather can be deadly for pets. As the temperature plummets in many parts of the country, The Humane Society of the United States sees a marked increase in the number of complaints about dogs and cats who have been left outside with no food or shelter.
We encourage you to contact local law enforcement agencies because pets left outside in extreme temperatures, especially without food and shelter, are at risk of hypothermia, frostbite and even death. Their owners are at risk of facing criminal charges. In Austin, the first recommended step is to call 311.
The act of leaving a pet outside without food or adequate shelter often receives less attention than a violent attack against an animal, but neglect is a crime. “Especially in these cold months, it is important for people to bring their pets inside and for others to report neglected animals to law enforcement,” says Ashley Mauceri, HSUS manager for cruelty response, who fields these calls.
One of the most common forms of animal cruelty, cases of animals left outside in dangerous weather are investigated more by police and animal control agencies than any other form of animal abuse. Our most constant companions—dogs and cats—feel the effects of winter weather as much as we do, only they are often cast outside to weather the cold or a storm owing to a misconception that the fur on their backs will insulate them from suffering. Without proper shelter, food and water, these domesticated animals’ chances of survival in frigid temperatures is greatly decreased. Any pet owners who aren’t sure what protections their pets need during cold weather can read our cold-weather advice for keeping pets safe.
While views on animal welfare vary from region to region, there are laws in place in every state to prevent needless suffering. Callers to The HSUS report numerous cases across the country of animals left out in the cold, but the organization is also working with an increasing number of law enforcement agencies that recognize the importance of intervention in these cases.
- 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.
- Felony charges can be applied in Georgia animal cruelty cases where malice is proved.
- 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 us. Because we aren’t a law-enforcement agency, we cannot take legal action, but we can provide expert counsel.
- If you have pets, follow our advice for keeping them safe in cold weather.
- Support our work to protect all animals, in all four seasons!