(WKBN) – With more cold temperatures on the way, Animal Charity of Ohio is issuing a warning to pet owners: do not leave your pets outside in this storm.
Jane MacMurchy with Animal Charity says any pets found left outside will be confiscated and owners will be charged with animal cruelty.
Humane agents have partnered with the dog warden and local police and will be actively looking for pets left out in the cold.
MacMurchy says they’ve gone around this week and issued verbal warnings.
With these sub-zero temperatures and wind chill, pets left out could freeze to death even if they are provided a shelter.
“Just having straw in those dog kennels is not enough, just having a kennel with a tarp over it is not enough. You’re not able to just bring your dogs in your garage, no. They need to be in a home structure. If they’re not and we catch you, you will be charged,” MacMurchy said.
Animal cruelty is a misdemeanor charge in Ohio. If an animal dies because of abuse or neglect, it’s a felony.
We checked in with MacMurchy on Friday to see how the search and rescue is going.
“We’ve only had to confiscate one canine, but we have seen approximately a dozen canines out that we were able to get indoors or speak to the owners that were home, that [those] animals were just outside going to the bathroom,” she said.
MacMurchy said crews were out nonstop on Friday patrolling for pets that could freeze to death.
“We did find one animal that was deceased that had froze to death. We will be investigating that as a felony and submitting that to the prosecutors,” she said.
Overall, they’ve seen fewer animals left out in this storm than they usually do.
“We were able to really get across to people and we did a lot of home visits in the last several days leading up to this to give people their verbal warnings,” MacMurchy said.
They will continue to watch for pets left out in sub-zero temperatures throughout the duration of the storm.
“We have teams, multiple teams of people that are going to be watching houses and making sure animals are indoors or being only outside monitored for short periods of time,” MacMurchy said.