Companion Animals Are Dying in Cold Weather—These Are the Reported Cases

Last updated on February 23, 2024:

The number of dogs and other companion animals who have reportedly died from causes related to cold weather in 2024:

19

Every year, PETA receives reports about dogs, cats, and other animals who died or had to be rescued after being left outdoors in cold weather—and these are just the incidents that were reported. Most aren’t.

Year Deaths Rescues Incidents
2024 19 302 See the list.
2023 13 642 See the list.
2022 35 364 See the list.
2021 22 475 See the list.
2020 6 77 See the list.
2019 37 322 See the list.
2018 43 34 See the list.

The following list is a compilation of cold weather–related deaths of companion animals reported by the media as of 2024:

Date Location Notes Number of Dogs and Other Animals Who Died
2/17/2024 Wimauma, Florida A family of dogs was thrown from a car. Some of them died from hypothermia. 4
1/31/2024 Houston, Texas A mother cat lost three of her four kittens before being rescued from the cold. 3
1/23/2024 Lafayette County, Mississippi Deputies found two dead and six barely living dogs on a property during a wellness check. 2
1/21/2024 Guilford County, North Carolina A dog froze to death after being abandoned in a box outside an animal shelter on a cold night. 1
1/21/2024 Lysander, New York Two dogs died after falling through the ice on a river. 2
1/15/2024 Cape Girardeau, Missouri Six dogs were saved and two were found dead both inside and outside a residence. None of the dogs had access to heat. 2
1/14/2024 Casey County, Kentucky Forty-four dogs were rescued from a freezing-cold house where two had frozen solid. 2
1/14/2024 Giltner, Nebraska One dog died and another was recovering from hypothermia after being left outside on a freezing-cold day. 1
1/4/2024 Wasilla, Alaska Three cats—one of whom was frozen to death—were found outside in a bag. 1
1/2/2024 Cambridge, Ontario, Canada A frozen cat was found outside someone’s home. 1

The following list is a compilation of cold weather–related rescues of companion animals reported by the media as of 2024:

Date Location Notes Number of Dogs and Other Animals Who Were Rescued
2/18/2024 Baldwin Township, Minnesota Firefighters rescued a dog after the animal fell through the ice on a partially frozen lake. 1
2/17/2024 Casper, Wyoming A dog was rescued after getting stuck on an icy island surrounded by a frigid river. 1
2/17/2024 Wimauma, Florida A family of dogs was thrown from a car. Some of them died from hypothermia. 3
2/14/2024 Chelmsford, Massachusetts Animal control officers rescued a dog who had fallen into a partially frozen pond. 1
2/8/2024 Robertson County, Kentucky Fourteen dogs were rescued from a breeder who had kept them in unheated structures during freezing temperatures. 14
2/7/2024 Plainfield, New Jersey An emaciated senior cat was abandoned in a crate outside an animal shelter on a cold night. 1
2/6/2024 Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada Firefighters used a dinghy to rescue a dog who had fallen through the ice on a partially frozen pond. 1
2/6/2024 Coalinga, California Two puppies were taken to an animal shelter after being found in the cold rain. 2
2/5/2024 Neshannock Township, Pennsylvania A dog was rescued after being found in a cold crate near a dock. 1
2/4/2024 Lincoln, Nebraska A dog was rescued after falling through the ice on a pond. 1
2/2/2024 La Ronge, Saskatchewan, Canada A woman and her dog were rescued after their vehicle fell through the ice on a partially frozen lake. 1
2/2/2024 Long Grove, Illinois Firefighters rescued a dog from a partially frozen pond. 1
2/1/2024 Hickory, North Carolina A dog was brought in from the cold after being left in a crate outside a humane society. 1
1/31/2024 Sanford, North Carolina A dog looking to escape the cold was rescued after turning up on a man’s doorstep. 1
1/31/2024 Houston, Texas A mother cat lost three of her four kittens before being rescued from the cold. 2
1/30/2024 New Melle, Missouri A dog was rescued from a pond after falling through the thinning ice. 1
1/30/2024 Crozet, Virginia A dog was rescued after stepping on thin ice and falling into a pond. 1
1/29/2024 Waterbury, Connecticut A cat was stuck in a tree for three days during freezing weather. 1
1/28/2024 Fort Wayne, Indiana A police officer rescued two dogs from an icy pond. 2
1/26/2024 Yakima, Washington A cat was abandoned in a box outside a shelter on a freezing-cold night. 1
1/25/2024 Kenosha, Wisconsin A dog was rescued from icy lake water by the Coast Guard. 1
1/24/2024 Braintree, Massachusetts Rescuers saved a dog who was clinging to the ice with his front paws after falling into a partially frozen river. 1
1/24/2024 La Salle, Illinois Firefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice of a partially frozen pond. 1
1/24/2024 Paterson, New Jersey A malnourished dog was recovering after being abandoned in the cold. 1
1/24/2024 Greenfield, Massachusetts A dog was rescued after falling through the ice on a river. 1
1/23/2024 Lafayette County, Mississippi Deputies found two dead and six barely living dogs on a property during a wellness check. 6
1/22/2024 Henderson, Kentucky A cat was rescued after being stuck in a tree for three nights in the bitter cold. 1
1/22/2024 Benton County, Tennessee A dog was rescued after getting stuck in a cold pond in the animal’s backyard. 1
1/21/2024 Mount Olive, New Jersey Police officers rescued two dogs who had been abandoned 10 miles from home in the cold. 2
1/21/2024 Toppenish, Washington Six puppies were rescued from a sealed bin in which they had been left out in the cold. 6
1/21/2024 Indianapolis, Indiana An animal control officer saved two dogs and a man who was unable to speak or move—all of whom were succumbing to the cold in their backyard. 2
1/20/2024 Canton, Ohio A dog was rescued from an icy riverbank during below-freezing temperatures. 1
1/20/2024 Monroe County, West Virginia Thirty-five dogs who were being kept outdoors in frigid temperatures were rescued. 35
1/20/2024 Cambridge, Ontario, Canada A dog went missing on a cold night and was rescued from an icy river the next day. 1
1/19/2024 Peoria, Illinois A snowplow driver rescued a small dog he saw outside while plowing. 1
1/19/2024 Bowling Green, Kentucky A cat was found nearly frozen outside. 1
1/19/2024 Waterbury, Connecticut Twenty-two caged cats were left in the snow outside an animal control office. 22
1/19/2024 Stone County, Missouri Fifty-five dogs were rescued from a property where they were being kept without food or shelter. 55
1/19/2024 South Bend, Indiana A dog was rescued after chasing a goose onto a partially frozen river and falling through the ice. 1
1/19/2024 Georgetown County, South Carolina A dog was rescued by animal control after being found in the cold for the second time. 1
1/18/2024 Sapphire, North Carolina A police officer rescued a stray dog when temperatures dropped to the teens. 1
1/18/2024 Fayetteville, Arkansas A dog was rescued after falling through the ice on a lake. 1
1/18/2024 Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania Two dogs were rescued after being tossed from a moving car into a snowbank. 2
1/18/2024 Qunicy, Massachusetts A dog was rescued after being left in a car in below-freezing temperatures. 1
1/18/2024 Colchester, Vermont A dog was rescued after getting stranded on the ice in a bay. 1
1/18/2024 Texas A woman tried to save three cats from the cold but only managed to bring in one. 1
1/17/2024 Tarrant, Alabama A dog was confiscated from their owner after being left out in the cold. 1
1/17/2024 Beaumont, Alberta, Canada A dog was rescued from the cold eight days after leaving their property through an open gate. 1
1/17/2024 Cherryville, British Columbia, Canada Seven dogs were rescued from a backyard breeder who was keeping them outside in the cold. 7
1/16/2024 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania A professional tree climber saved a cat who had been stuck in a tree for three cold days. 1
1/16/2024 San Antonio, Texas A family of dogs was rescued from the cold. 5
1/16/2024 Jackson County, Michigan A dog owner was told to return home and bring their dog inside after animal control noticed the animal out in the cold. 1
1/16/2024 Algona, Iowa A man and a dog were rescued from a car that had gotten stuck in a snowdrift. 1
1/15/2024 Kansas City, Missouri A dog was rescued from the cold outside a vacant home. 1
1/15/2024 Haledon, New Jersey Officials rescued a dog who was outside and showing signs of frostbite. 1
1/15/2024 Cape Girardeau, Missouri Six dogs were saved and two were found dead both inside and outside a residence. None of the dogs had access to heat. 6
1/15/2024 Gibson County, Indiana Firefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy pond. 1
1/15/2024 Detroit, Michigan A dog lying in the snow was rescued. 1
1/15/2024 Georgetown Township, Michigan A dog was rescued by firefighters after falling through the ice on a partially frozen lake. 1
1/15/2024 Alpena County, Michigan Firefighters from three departments collaborated in rescuing a dog who had fallen through the ice on a marsh. 1
1/15/2024 West Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada A frostbitten cat was rescued from the cold. 1
1/15/2024 Midland, Michigan A dog was rescued by firefighters after falling into an icy river. 1
1/14/2024 Casey County, Kentucky Forty-four dogs were rescued from a freezing-cold house where two had frozen solid. 44
1/14/2024 Clearfield, Utah A dog was rescued by firefighters after falling through the ice of a pond. 1
1/14/2024 Cold Brook, New York Two people capsized their boats while trying to rescue a dog who had fallen through the ice at a reservoir. 1
1/14/2024 Giltner, Nebraska One dog died and another was recovering from hypothermia after being left outside on a freezing-cold day. 1
1/14/2024 Indianapolis, Indiana A dog was rescued after being outside for hours in the snow during subzero temperatures. 1
1/13/2024 Kansas City, Missouri Six puppies under a house were rescued during a cold snap. 6
1/13/2024 Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada Four cats were trapped and brought indoors to save them from below-freezing temperatures. 4
1/13/2024 Youngsville, Louisiana An abandoned dog was found shivering just before a hard freeze. 1
1/13/2024 Sandy, Oregon Two humans and a dog were rescued when their car got stuck during an arctic blast. 1
1/13/2024 West Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada Two people and a dog fell through the ice on a lake and were rescued by bystanders. 1
1/12/2024 Milwaukee, Wisconsin A cat who had been living under rocks by the beach for weeks was rescued before a cold snap. 1
1/10/2024 Burt Township, Michigan A specialized rope-rescue team saved a cold dog who had fallen 60 feet off a cliff during the night. 1
1/9/2024 Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania A dog was rescued after escaping on a cold, windy day and getting stuck in a storm drain. 1
1/9/2024 Wichita, Kansas A cat was rescued after veterinary workers heard the animal mewling in the snow behind an animal hospital. 1
1/9/2024 De Soto, Iowa A dog who got lost during a car crash was found after spending a day out in a winter storm. 1
1/9/2024 West Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada A frostbitten cat was found in the cold. 1
1/9/2024 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma A cat who was out in the cold was rescued and adopted on the spot. 1
1/9/2024 Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada A cat was rescued after getting stuck in a cat trap in -32°C (-25°F) weather. 1
1/8/2024 Windsor, Ontario, Canada A cat is recovering after falling into an ice-cold pool. 1
1/6/2024 Lincoln, New Brunswick, Canada Two dogs were rescued from an icy river. One had fallen in, and the other was refusing to leave their side. 2
1/5/2024 Liberty, Maine Two dogs were rescued from an icy lake. One had fallen in, and the other was trapped on the ice. 2
1/4/2024 Wasilla, Alaska Three cats—one of whom was frozen to death—were found outside in a bag. 2
1/4/2024 Wichita, Kansas A mother dog and her five pups were abandoned in a bag in the cold soon after she gave birth to them. 6
1/4/2024 Saratoga Springs, New York A man allegedly abducted his neighbor’s cat and then abandoned the feline outside an animal shelter in frigid temperatures. 1
1/2/2024 St. Louis, Missouri An extremely skinny dog was found huddled beside a house, shivering in the cold. 1
1/2/2024 Colorado Springs, Colorado Firefighters rescued a  dog who had fallen into an icy lake. 1

No animal should endure a cold weather–related death. It’s inexcusable.

As guardians, we must take these vital steps in order to protect our beloved animal family members:

1. Keep animals indoors.

Puppies and kittens, elderly animals, small animals, and dogs with short hair, including pointers, beagles, pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, are particularly susceptible to the elements, but all animal companions should be kept warm and cozy indoors. Short-haired animals will also benefit from wearing warm sweaters or coats during brief trips outdoors.

2. Don’t allow your cat or dog to roam outdoors without supervision.

Being outside unattended is always dangerous for our animal companions, but cold weather poses even more risks. Cats can climb under the hoods of cars in order to get near warm engines and then be badly injured or killed when the vehicle is started.

3. Keep an eye out for strays.

If you see companion animals roaming the streets, bring them indoors until you can find their guardians, or take them to an animal shelter.

4. Clean dogs after they come in from the snow.

Salt and chemicals used to counter snow can make animals sick if they ingest them. Always clean off your dogs’ legs, paws, and stomach after they’ve been out in the snow. If you use antifreeze, buy a nontoxic brand like Sierra or Prestone LowTox.

5. If you see dogs left outdoors in extreme weather without proper shelter, alert the authorities.

Winter weather spells extra hardship for “backyard dogs,” who often go without adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. If you see animals left outside without shelter from the elements, note their location and alert local authorities immediately.

6. Help all animals survive cold snaps.

During extreme winter conditions, you can provide birds and other wildlife with access to water by filling a heavy nonmetal water bowl (tongues can freeze to metal) and breaking the surface ice twice a day.

©iStock.com/Merrimon

When the weather improves, be sure to remove any food offerings in order to prevent the animals’ dependence on artificial feedings.

*****

Together, we can help drastically reduce the number of dogs and other animal companions who die in cold weather and even eliminate these tragedies altogether.

Animals are counting on us—as their guardians and as good Samaritans—to keep them safe. We can’t let them down.

Take Action Now

You can become an “Angel for Animals” by sponsoring a PETA doghouse. We provide lonely “outside dogs” with sturdy doghouses to shelter them in the rain and in the snow and freezing temperatures of winter. Click below to help:

Make sure that all your friends and family members know the potentially lifesaving cold-weather tips above:

Watch this video, listen to this radio clip, and check out this ad to learn more about the reasons why you should never leave a dog outside during cold weather.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind