Animal control responds to concerns about pets left outside in the cold

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DENVER -- The Denver Animal Shelter was closed Tuesday because of Veteran’s Day, but animal control was busy fielding calls from neighbors worried about animals stuck outside in the inclement weather.

With the tumbling temperatures, it becomes critical for pet owners to make sure their animals are safe. But, there are some variables like the breed of dog and its condition that help animal control decide how to take action.

According to the City of Denver’s animal ordinance, animals must have adequate shelter outside. "Something to really shelter the animal from the snow, cold, wind,” said Officer Daniel Ettinger. He adds that breed can make a difference, "You have to take everything into account because a Siberian Husky versus a Boxer in this weather are two different things."

FOX31 Denver tagged along while Officer Ettinger responded to several welfare calls; the first call was a complaint about a business. Two dogs were at the property, but Officer Ettinger said the dogs appear to be in good condition. “If they were outside for long, you'd start to see some snow build-up on certain areas, maybe around the feet right here. You might even see some discoloration on the nose.”

A quick check at the back of that property and there is shelter. So, it’s on to the next house where the owners were at home. "I’m officer Ettinger with Animal Control. Someone made a complaint about the dogs in the backyard, that they don't have a dog house."

After a quick survey of the property, Officer Ettinger found several violations including unfixed dogs; lack of vaccinations and a frozen-over water bowl. But, Officer Ettinger used this as a teaching tool, rather than issuing a fine. "We really want to do our best in a proactive way to give them the resources available."

When weather is the primary concern, welfare checks often yield plenty of other violations, but in all these cases the animals were safe and healthy.

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