Pets Outside in the Cold-What Do We Do?

 

do-somethingAnimal Radio

I received a phone call this morning from someone who is concerned about a neighbor dog and they were looking for advice. The dog seems to be put outside whenever they are home and then brought inside whenever they leave. When the dog is outside it is put inside of a little fenced in square they have in the yard.

The concern isn’t so much about that, even though in my opinion, I don’t feel people should have a dog unless they are actually going to pay attention to it. It’s more about the nonstop barking for one. Although ignoring your pet is going to cause barking and other behavior issues (and who’s fault is this?…not the dog’s. Just saying). The other concern is, it just turned very cold here, and the dog is being left in the cold for hours at a time. This dog has no doghouse to go into and there are no leaves on trees anymore to block the brutal winds.

The other side to this is people see them kissing and hugging the dog, so they seem to care. My take is they are just irresponsible.

I was asked who they should call. This is where it gets confusing to me and I am hoping you can help. Winter is here and there are going to be animals left out in the cold. What do we do?

I feel if you call the police or the community services people this puts the dog at risk of being taken away or a chance his caretakers (I hate the word “owner”) will be forced to bring him to a shelter where a worse fate may wait.

Don’t misunderstand me, if I see a dog being left out in freezing weather for an unreasonable amount of time, I am going to do something about it! But what?

Do you try to talk with the people about it first? If so, what do you say?

Will anyone really help them or rescue them if they truly are in danger? I see so many articles out there about people reporting a dog chained outside in brutal temperatures, frozen water bowls, no shelter, and the dog isn’t rescued for years.

Do any of you have any tips or knowledge about laws on this in the United States? Even if you aren’t in the United States, what are your laws?

Looking forward to your responses. Stay warm this winter (and your pets too).

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28 thoughts on “Pets Outside in the Cold-What Do We Do?

  1. IreneDesign2011

    I see this issue as very different, up to where we live in this world. Some people have lots of empathy and also mind enough to see, what is right and wrong in treating their dogs and/or cats. No one should be left alone outside in the cold without shelter possibility.
    Maybe a US vet can guide you better to know, what to do, when you see or hear about animals not being treated well.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Animals Are Feeling Beings Too Post author

      I’m sure it does depend on where you live. I never thought about asking a vet. With this post, I not only want to know for myself because of the current situation, but I also am hoping that by bringing this up, it will help others to find out and know what to do if they see an animal not being cared for well. Winters can be brutal.

      Liked by 2 people

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    1. Animals Are Feeling Beings Too Post author

      I’m sure it does depend on the dog breed and also what they are use to. Do the dogs you are talking about at least have a shelter or dog house to go into?
      I agree that speaking to them about it first seems the most civil. If you have rotten neighbors though, that can make it hard.

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. nuggetsdrooling

    I live in Vancouver, British Columbia. At the very minimum under the law here you must make sure your dog has adequate “food, water and shelter,” β€œHis dog house must be elevated, he should have straw bedding to keep his body temperature up, the door should have a flap to keep the wind out and he should have food and water.” Last year the BCSPCA launched a campaign called “Breaking the Chains of Suffering” I have attached the link here in case you want to check it out. http://www.spca.bc.ca/animal-issues/campaign-issues/tethered-dogs.html

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Animals Are Feeling Beings Too Post author

      We have the same laws, my concern is does the law actually make sure this is being done for animals? Why are there still so many animals left out there without these basic needs of protection? Is it because “we” (all of us) aren’t doing our part to tell police officers when we see an animal suffering? Maybe we don’t see it, so maybe we should pay more attention if we hear a dog barking a lot or a cat meowing a lot. They could be asking for help. My goal with this post is to bring awareness to us all and do this very thing, dialogue about it, so we can be aware and ready to help an animal in need. I really appreciate your comments. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for the link, I will check it out.

      Liked by 2 people

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  3. colinandray

    My approach would always be to initially contact the owners; express my concerns, and suggest alternatives. If they fully understood my concerns, then I would step back from the situation for a while. I would not pursue it further without additional research, with the main question being – Is my concern solidly based on fact. i.e. Some dogs can survive outdoors at the remarkably low temperatures.
    A continually barking dog is a troubled dog and would be reported. (I have done that re a dog that lived behind us).
    As for irresponsible owners? That is a rather subjective area as there is a huge difference between irresponsible and uneducated. If irresponsibility is determined, I would report it. If further education in dog ownership appeared to be necessary, I would suggest some alternative ways of handling their situation (I have done that). If they do nothing… then it is irresponsible ownership from my perspective.
    In summary, I would always get involved if a dog appeared to be mistreated, before calling the authorities. However, It would always be approached tactfully** and with some suggestions**. A confrontation has a 99% failure rate!
    **Definition of Diplomacy – The art of letting somebody have your way.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Animals Are Feeling Beings Too Post author

      Thank you so much for your comment. I can see how some dogs can survive outdoors, but aren’t they at least provided shelter? This one has none and is a littler dog. When you say troubled, what do you mean?
      I see your point on the difference between irresponsible and uneducated.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. colinandray

        I, like you, believe that all dogs should have a shelter… but that could simply be the side of a shed acting as a wind break. I do not have the knowledge to determine what every breed needs so must either learn about them, or default to reporting it. In our case, we have developed a wonderful relationship with a number of trainers who will freely offer advice.
        It is my understanding that dogs bark for a reason. It could be play, or excitement… but continuous or repetitive barking could be an indicator of a problem. Identify the problem, and the barking could be addressed (our experience with Ray). Some owners ignore barking as “That’s what dogs do!” ….. and they are right, but dogs do it for a reason!

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        1. Animals Are Feeling Beings Too Post author

          I agree 100%. To me it would seem this dog is barking continually because it seems they ignore it. Do you think there could be another reason?
          There is a neighbor of my mom’s that has a beautiful dog that rarely barks unless someone gets close to the yard, a very normal thing. All of a sudden the dog was barking all of the time, very unusual behavior for this particular dog. My mom was asking for my advice. I told her, just as you said, there is always a reason behind the bark. I knew they had just had a baby and they were keeping the dog outside longer than they usually did. So I told her this was probably the reason. It went on for a while and then I guess someone complained to the police about all of the barking, so then they started having the dog out there for shorter periods of time. The continuous barking ceased shortly after that. I also think maybe as time went on the dog got used to the new addition in the family and having to share attention.

          Liked by 2 people

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          1. colinandray

            I can only guess of course re the circumstances you describe but a dog that is attached to its family, is not going to readily accept reduced attention because of a baby. I have to question why the dog was outside more often. If it was because of concern for the baby, then having either the dog (or the baby) was a little shortsighted. Similar “attention getting” antics can result from a 3 year old child who suddenly has to compete for attention with a new baby. Nothing magical or mysterious…. just basic expressions of emotions!

            Liked by 1 person

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            1. Animals Are Feeling Beings Too Post author

              Exactly! I always feel so sorry for pets when a new baby comes into the family. Some people get mad at their pet for changed behavior or they get rid of the pet once they have a baby. A pet is a commitment, a part of the family. They deserve time & patience for these new circumstances. After all, they are feeling beings too.

              Liked by 1 person

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              1. colinandray

                There is also a very real danger to the baby as an animal tries to rectify the situation. Cats have been known to suffocate babies, and dogs have been known to bite! Parents must educate themselves so that an amicable arrangement can be established for ALL family members. Sadly, the family dog is often expected to magically understand, accept, and adapt the circumstances but, as you note, “dogs have feelings too”, and to ignore/overlook that fact can be hazardous.

                Liked by 2 people

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  4. Maria, a gentle iconoclast

    I have a happy story to share about a Chihuahua who could have died from exposure or a predator. His name is now Muddy, because he was found in a ditch and very dirty (and thin). A young woman driving past stopped and climbed down in the ditch and got “Muddy”. He is now thriving. We told the caretaker’s Dad we would take him but the family are already too attached. Hope the smallish dog you’re concerned with has a happy outcome too!

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. colinandray

    Dog barking comes under a local noise by-law, so I called our town’s By-Law Enforcement people. They visited the house in question and just advised that they were in contravention of the noise By-Law, and that a neighbor had complained. The dog was not in the garden on its own for very long after that.

    Liked by 2 people

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      1. Kathy Dunn

        I’m not sure when they were founded; they have been around a long while I think, they work closely with law enforcement; I had looked into becoming a humane agent once, there are classes that a person can take twice a year I think (the website will explain all I’m sure as well as say when they were founded) to become a humane agent. I did not as I felt at the time, I was unsure I could handle the kinds of things that these agents would be dealing with.

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