Reports popped up across the country last week — both in the north and south — of dogs freezing to death after being left outside during a bitterly cold stretch of winter weather.
As single-digit temperatures gripped the eastern United States, local news outlets and animal welfare organizations were reminding people of what you would think any fool would know (but apparently they don’t) — that freezing temperatures can hurt and kill your dog.
The news reports made that much clear.
Police in Hartford, Conn., charged a woman with animal cruelty after a neighbor reported a dog frozen to death and still chained to a small shelter outside a home.
In Toledo, a dog was found frozen to death on a front porch last week, and three other frozen dogs were discovered last week in Franklin County, Ohio. In Butler County, Ohio, north of Cincinnati, a man was charged with cruelty after his dog was discovered frozen.
“The dog was found in an outside dog house with no insulation. The dog was frozen to death due to the severe cold weather …” read a Facebook post from Sheriff Richard K. Jones. “Freezing to death is a horrible way for an animal to die.”
In Michigan, Detroit Dog Rescue said a Pomeranian mix left outside its offices Monday night was found dead the next day. Another dog, found shivering in a barrel outdoors, was being treated for frostbite.
“Trying to escape the frigid temperatures he curled up and crouched down, but even his underbelly and penis began to freeze,” Detroit Dog Rescue said in a Facebook post. “His feet are so painful he doesn’t want to stand.”
In Aiken, S.C., a woman was cited after officers discovered a shivering dog chained outside in 15 degree temperatures, next to a puppy in a cage that appeared to have frozen to death.
In Knox County, Illinois, the owner of a black lab mix found eight newborn puppies frozen to death in the snow last week. According to WQAD, the owner claimed not to have known his dog, whom he kept outside despite below-freezing temperatures, was pregnant. A ninth puppy survived.
We could go on, but it’s just too maddening — the lack of common sense that can exist in some humans.
“Dogs, cats and horses depend on our care, especially during life-threatening cold snaps. Take the animals in, or somehow provide a safe environment for them,” Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement.
Dogs aren’t immune from the cold, no matter how thick their coat. Bigger, furrier dogs, like huskies, can fare better in the extreme cold than a Chihuahua might. But all dogs can perish if left in extreme enough weather for long enough periods, as the chart above indicates.
Consult it, if you feel the need to. Better yet, just keep in mind that if it’s too cold for you outside, it’s too cold for pets.