Dogs will suffer, can die if left outdoors this week, Animal Charity warns


YOUNGSTOWN

Animal Charity is urging pet owners to bring their animals indoors during this week's extreme cold.

Animal Charity Board President Mary Louk told 21 WFMJ-TV, The Vindicator's broadcast partner, that the "extreme weather we're going to have in the next 48 hours - even with their fur, even with a dog house and straw they are not going to be ok."

Any animal left outside for more than five or 10 minutes can get hypothermia, frostbite, and cracks in their skin, just like a human. she said.

She noted that the agency received 78 calls about animals left outside on Monday morning alone. Anyone who sees or suspects neglect or abuse can contact a humane agent at www.animalcharityofohio.org and clicking on "reporting abuse." The complaint goes directly to the agent's phone.

Owners should be aware that it is illegal to tie a dog out in extreme cold, and authorities can remove an animal that is shivering or showing other evidence of suffering.

In addition, owners could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by jail time and a fine If your animal is outside and gets frostbite or hypothermia.

"In the worst case, if your animal would die, we would charge you with a fifth-degree felony," Louk said.

Louk told the station that most people have been cooperative so far, but humane agents will pursue charges against any who refuse to cooperate or whose pet is in danger.

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