If It Is Too Cold Outside For You, It Is Too Cold For Your Dog
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If It Is Too Cold Outside For You, It Is Too Cold For Your Dog

Pets need us to keep them safe and warm when it's cold outside

If It Is Too Cold Outside For You, It Is Too Cold For Your Dog

We all know someone that keeps their dog outside in a dog house rather than inviting their companion to join their family indoors. The concept of having a dog only to isolate it in a cage, or heaven forbid, tethered on a leash outdoors has baffled me for years. What is the point? Dogs, in general, are very "pack-oriented" and do best in a setting where they have other animals and/or humans close to them. Living day after day in solitary isolation is no way to live.


During the winter months, thousands of dogs' face weather conditions that can literally lead to death. As the temperature drops, animals that are faced with loneliness and isolation are also fighting for their lives for what can be months at a time. Let's be clear here. .Dogs that are confined in a cage or tethered with a leash or a "tie off" to a tree do not have the ability to search for protection from weather elements such as snow and rain. What the owner provides is the best it will get for these animals.

There are no federal anti-cruelty statues, and each state is responsible for establishing and enforcing their own anti-cruelty laws. Most states will enforce anti-cruelty laws when the acts against an animal are intentional such as beating, repeatedly striking or burning an animal on purpose or if the person failed to act and provide food, water, and adequate shelter.

Some states consider leaving an animal outside during the cold weather in winter from neglect and may be a punishable crime. There have been many stories in the news recently about dogs by the dozens being discovered frozen and dead because their owners failed to provide even the most basic shelter for them.

At the end of 2018, DC made a huge leap in the animal welfare world stating animals may not be outside longer than 15 minutes when temperatures are below freezing by introducing "Ray's Law" or the "Standard of Care for Animals Act of 2017". In addition to establishing that owners must not leave their pets outside unattended in extreme weather, any structure for a dog to spend time in must have a self-closing door, and dry bedding for insulation at least 4 inches off the ground.


Do owners set out to freeze their animal through prolonged exposure to cold weather? I hope not. Are they responsible for the circumstances that led to the death of an animal because of their neglect? I certainly think so. Most cases where a dog was found frozen and an owner was charged are ultimately dismissed because of "extenuating circumstances."

Some owners deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law, such as the case of the 21 horses that died a slow death due to neglect.


The punishment should fit the crime. I do not believe jail time is the best solution for first-time offenders or unique situations that led to the death of an animal. Our correctional system is maxed out and already overcrowded. It would be a financial drain on our already bleak economy.

These individuals need a special type of community service. Why not allow them to experience what prolonged exposure to frigid life-threatening conditions feel like by spending the night outside in freezing weather? OH WAIT! We would never force someone to sleep outside in these conditions because it is considered inhumane! Go figure!

I propose a "tough love" program for these special individuals where they wake up early and spend the day going around in their community advocating for other dogs that are also living in dog houses outside.

There are rescue organizations and animal groups that will step up and provide bedding, straw and heat sources along with food and water if needed. Hopefully walking the walk and talking the talk will allow negligent owners the opportunity to learn how to be caring and compassionate again.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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