Leaving pets out in extreme cold could result in $999 fine

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DENVER — Friday marks one of the coldest mornings that Denver has seen in quite some time.

In fact, temperatures are in the single digits so Denver Animal Protection is reminding you to keep your pets indoors.

Failing to keep pets warm could have dire consequence for animals and result in a Cruelty to Animals or Animal Neglect charge, up to a $999 fine and/or a year in jail for the owner.

Officers do patrols to keep an eye on how things are looking in the neighborhoods and field many calls about animals left out in dangerously low temperatures.

Animal Patrol Officers will be out and about on frigid days and most people don’t know it, but there’s an ordinance in place requiring pet owners to provide food, water and shelter with a particular emphasis on shelter when extreme cold strikes.

Some quick tips to keep pets warm and avoid a ticket:

  • When pets come in from the outdoors, remove snow, ice, salt other ice treatment chemicals from their coats and paws. This will not only keep them dry, but will also prevent them from ingesting the chemicals.
  • Check for cracks in paw pads or redness between toes. Massaging petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide protection from irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold.
  • Don’t leave dangerous and potentially lethal chemicals like snow and ice remover or anti-freeze within your pet’s reach.
  • Check under the hood of outdoor vehicles before starting them up. Stray cats often look for refuge on warm engines.
  • Don’t shave your dog down to the skin in the winter as a longer winter coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting a coat or sweater.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in the wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories. Ensure they also have plenty of water to help keep them hydrated and to prevent dry skin.

“It’s severe for the animals to be in these conditions without proper shelter. And I will say just because you have a dog house in your backyard does not mean that your animal is going to be okay in this type of weather,” said Daniel Ettinger, an Animal Protection Officer.

Watch out for warning signs, including shivering, discoloration of the nose and paws.

Animal protection officers say it’s on all of us to protect animals so if you see something, give your local agency a call at 720-913-1311 to report the abuse.

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