What to Do if You See a Dog Left Outside in Cold Weather

When you live in place that feels like a freezer, those little digital snowflakes falling over your phone’s weather widget can be a depressing sight. Looking out the window to see real ones can be even worse — especially when they are falling on a dog left out in the cold. So what can we do when we witness someone else’s pet shivering against winter weather? A lot, actually.For dogs left outside in their backyards, chained or not, knowing what to do can be a bit more complicated.

That’s because the bylaws regarding keeping dogs outdoors vary from region to region. Some cities and towns allow dogs to be chained outside, but may have rules about leaving pets outside in extreme temperatures. Dogs may be allowed to be outside in the cold provided they have adequate shelter and access to food and water. Unfortunately, they oftentimes don’t get it.The Humane Society of the United States offers some helpful tips: – Document everything. Write down the date, time and location of the animal and any other details that you think might be relevant. – Take photos or videos to back up your complaint. – Call your local animal control agency or sheriff’s office.

Take note of whom you speak to so that you can check up on your complaint in a day or two. – If you need advice, contact the HSUS or another local animal rescue group for help. These are all good points and we would add: – Call a local animal rescue group. They might have an outreach program that works with dog owners that chain up their dogs. Sometimes, these groups have organized community programs to help build adequate dog houses with proper insulation and straw for the winter. For example DELTA Rescue has advice on how to build a straw bale dog house. (see the instructional video below).

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