HSHV Reminds People to Protect Pets from Freezing Temperatures
What can you do?
Ann Arbor, MI: Each year during the winter months, the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) receives calls about animals left out in the elements without adequate protection. Plunging winter temperatures can be extremely dangerous for companion animals.
“There are a lot of dogs who live their lives outside on a chain who are in complete misery right now. Each year we have cases where dogs literally freeze to death. We want to reduce the unnecessary suffering of our companion animals. Unfortunately Michigan state law does not prevent dogs from living outside, but the law does require proper shelter and bedding,” said HSHV Director of Animal Cruelty Investigations, Matt Schaecher. “During the freezing winter months we have zero tolerance for dogs found living outside without appropriate protection and if found to be in danger, those animals will be removed for their own safety.
Dogs living outside require soundly-built, weatherproof doghouses or insulated plastic “igloo” type houses. The doghouse should face south or east, preventing the opening from facing prevailing winds. Ideally, the doghouse should be elevated off the ground. The law requires adequate bedding be placed inside the doghouse when temperatures drop below freezing. HSHV Animal Cruelty Investigators suggest using straw instead of wood shavings or blankets because straw holds a dog’s body heat longer and doesn’t collect moisture and freeze.
Animals living outdoors in the winter also have extra nutritional needs to survive. HSHV has investigated several cases of emaciated dogs found dead this winter and strongly recommends that you keep your pets inside in extreme temperatures. Animals that are outside during freezing weather also need a constant source of fresh water so check your dog’s bowl often to ensure it hasn’t frozen.
“Educating the public on proper animal care is our main goal, but we take all complaints of animals subjected to unsafe conditions seriously,” said Schaecher. “Cases found to be valid will be submitted to the Washtenaw County prosecutor’s office on charges of animal cruelty.”
To report cases of animal cruelty or neglect, call the Humane Society of Huron Valley at 734.662.5585. If you would like to help the Humane Society of Huron Valley, consider donating time or money, or adopting a homeless companion animal.
The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, was recently awarded the ‘Best Large Animal Shelter in Michigan” by the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance for saving the most lives. HSHV is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on donations from businesses and individuals to support our community programs. The mission of HSHV is to promote responsible and compassionate care of all animals in our community and we are not affiliated with the Michigan Humane Society or any other humane organization. For more information, call (734) 662-5585 or visit www.hshv.org.