Elyria APL warns of dangers for pets left in the cold

ELYRIA, OH (WOIO) - Dogs were rescued by the Portage County Animal Protective League after being tied up in the snow and bitter cold earlier this month.

Humane societies, like the Friendship APL, said it's not uncommon to see cases of animal neglect in the winter.

"Our humane investigators are getting nonstop calls about animals out in this weather," said Friendship APL Volunteer Coordinator Cathy Belt.

Belt said there's no excuse to leave animals outside in the winter.

"Bring them in. It's too cold for them at this point," she said.

When it's this cold, animals can start suffering fast.

"Just like us, dogs can get hypothermia, they can start to shut down. If they're outside too long their paws can crack, their skin can crack, their noses can crack. It can be pretty bad," Belt said.

Belt said even big dogs with thick coats, like shepherds and huskies, can't keep warm in the winter. For smaller pets, it's even worse.

"Dogs with short coats, especially small breed dogs, they get cold very, very quickly and just the salts and the antifreeze, it can really do a lot of damage to their paws," she said.

Keep walks short in the winter and wipe off your pet's feet frequently. Belt also said pet owners should do their best to protect animal's paws.

"There's something you can get called musher's wax and it's a wax you can put on their pads and it creates a barrier between their feet and the ice," she said.

Owners caught neglecting their pets in dangerous and potentially deadly weather, will likely pay the price.

"Some cities have some pretty hefty fines and it's just flat out illegal to leave your animal chained up in any weather, let alone this weather," Belt said.

Signs of hypothermia for dogs include:

  • Skin or lips turning a bluish tint
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shivering

If you see an animal left outside for extended periods of time in the cold weather, call your local police department or the local APL.

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