Animal Companions Are Dying in Cold Weather—These Are the Reported Cases

Last updated July 26, 2021:

The number of dogs and other animal companions who have reportedly died from causes related to cold weather since 2020:

28

Every year, PETA receives reports about dogs, cats, and other animals who have died after being left outdoors in cold weather. In 2019 alone, there were 37 animal companion deaths related to cold weather—and those are just the ones that were reported. Most aren’t.

YearDeathsRescuesIncidents
2020-202128460See the list.
201937322See the list.
20184334See the list.

The following list is a compilation of cold weather–related animal companion deaths reported by the media since 2020:

DateLocationNotesNumber of Dogs and Other Animals Who Died
2/22/2021Fairview Township, PennsylvaniaA man and two dogs died after they all fell through a frozen pond in Fairview Township, PA. The man had attempted to use a kayak to rescue the dogs, but he fell in as well.2
2/16/2021Wichita, KansasA dog froze to death after being tethered outside in freezing temperatures.1
2/15/2021Houston, TexasOne dog died and five others had to be rescued after being left outside an auto body shop in subzero temperatures.1
2/15/2021Davis City, IowaOne dog died after being left outside during freezing temperatures. The owner was not charged nor was his other dog taken away.1
2/14/2021Grapeland, TexasFour horses and four dogs were rescued from a property after being left outside in subzero temperatures. Officials found one dog dead.1
2/13/2021Noble, OklahomaAfter seeing a Facebook post from a concerned resident, a good Samaritan checked on a dog reportedly chained outside in freezing temperatures. When she arrived, she found multiple chained dogs, three puppies, and only a hole for shelter.6
2/13/2021Frankfort, KentuckyNine puppies were abandoned outside an animal shelter after hours in freezing temperatures. Five of them died.5
2/8/2021Burns Lake, British Columbia, CanadaA dog was found half frozen outside in subzero temperatures. A good Samaritan attempted to save him, but the dog died shortly afterward.1
2/8/2021Detroit, MichiganA senior dog was found dead in his yard after being left outside in freezing temperatures.2
2/7/2021St. Louis, MissouriA dog and her puppy froze to death after being abandoned in their doghouse on the side of a road. They were among the more than 30 dogs and cats found outside in the cold in just three days and taken to Stray Rescue of St. Louis.1
1/12/2021Oklahoma City, OklahomaAnimal control found a dog frozen to death. She was with her seven puppies, who were rescued and survived.1
12/26/2020Lakeville, IndianaA dog died after falling into an icy pond.1
12/25/2020Highlands Ranch, ColoradoA dog died after falling through ice on a partially frozen pond.1
12/21/2020Rochester, New YorkTwo dogs fell into a partially frozen pond. One dog was rescued, but the other one died.1
12/18/2020Hopkinsville, KentuckyA woman was charged with second degree animal cruelty after her dog was found dead outside due to cold weather and lack of body weight.1
2/23/2020Marquette, MichiganA dog died after falling through ice into the Carp River.1
2/5/2020Orland, MaineA dog and his or her guardian died after falling through ice while driving across a lake.1

The following list is a compilation of cold weather–related animal companion rescues reported by the media since 2020:

DateLocationNotesNumber of Dogs and Other Animals Who Were Rescued
4/11/2021Edmonton, Alberta, CanadaRescuers saved a dog who had fallen through the ice on a partially frozen river.1
4/6/2021Edmonton, Alberta, CanadaRescuers saved a dog who had fallen through the ice on a partially frozen river.1
3/26/2021Lebanon, New HampshireFirefighters rescued a dog who was trapped on a partially frozen lake.1
3/24/2021Cairo, New YorkPolice officers rescued two dogs who had fallen through ice on a reservoir.2
3/21/2021Bigfork, MontanaFirefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake.1
3/18/2021Edwards, ColoradoFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through ice on a partially frozen lake.1
3/7/2021Bolingbrook, IllinoisTwo dogs had to be rescued by firefighters after falling into an icy pond.2
3/6/2021Idaho Falls, IdahoThree dogs were rescued by firefighters after falling into the Snake River.3
3/5/2021Long Beach, New YorkPolice officers rescued a dog who was locked inside a freezing van on a 29-degree night.1
3/5/2021Monee, IllinoisFirefighters rescued a dog from an icy reservoir.1
3/5/2021Wheaton, Illinois A dog had to be rescued from an icy pond.1
3/4/2021Manteno, IllinoisA dog was rescued by two police officers after falling into an icy lake.1
3/4/2021Hanson, MassachusettsFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy pond.1
3/4/2021Oronoco, MinnesotaA dog had to be rescued after falling into an icy lake.1
3/3/2021Hanson, MassachusettsA dog and his guardian had to be rescued after falling into an icy pond.1
3/2/2021Jefferson, WisconsinFirefighters rescued a 12-year-old girl and her dog after they fell into a partially frozen pond while on a walk.1
2/28/2021Sylvania, OhioA dog had to be rescued by firefighters after falling into an icy pond.1
2/27/2021Hoopeston, IllinoisFirefighters and local residents rescued a dog from an icy lake.1
2/27/2021Vigo County, IndianaFirefighters rescued a dog from an icy pond.1
2/26/2021Long Beach, New YorkA dog was rescued after being left inside a van during below-freezing temperatures.1
2/26/2021Columbus, IndianaFirefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake.1
2/25/2021Aurora, IndianaFirefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake.1
2/24/2021Pike Creek, DelawareFirefighters rescued a dog trapped on a partially frozen pond.1
2/24/2021Lee’s Summit, MissouriFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice on Raintree Lake.1
2/24/2021Wilmington, DelawarePolice and firefighters rescued a dog who was stranded on a frozen pond.1
2/24/2021Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaAfter a 2-year-old cat was found frozen on a porch, her leg and tail had to be amputated.1
2/23/2021Glen Carbon, IllinoisA 17-year-old boy’s neighbor rescued the boy’s dog after the animal fell into a partially frozen lake.1
2/23/2021Edmonton, AlbertaFirefighters rescued a dog from a partially frozen pond.1
2/23/2021Parker, ColoradoFirefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake at Salisbury Equestrian Park.1
2/23/2021Tonawanda, New YorkA dog and his two guardians had to be rescued after falling into a frozen creek.1
2/23/2021San Antonio, TexasAnimal Services rescued about 200 animals during the week of winter weather.200
2/22/2021Mapaville, MissouriTwo fire departments worked together to rescue a dog who had fallen into a thawing icy pond.1
2/22/2021Marshall, ArkansasA dog had to be rescued by police, other first responders, and neighbors after falling into a partially frozen pond.1
2/22/2021Madison, WisconsinFirefighters rescued a woman and her dog after they fell through the ice on Lake Monona.1
2/22/2021Olive Branch, Mississippi A dog and the dogs guardian has to be rescued after falling into a frozen pond.1
2/22/2021Clinton, British Columbia, CanadaA dog was rescued after being lost for 17 days outside during one of the seasons worst cold snaps.1
2/22/2021Shelby County, TennesseeFirefighters rescued a Great Dane who had fallen through the ice on a pond. The animal’s guardians told firefighters that they had let three of their dogs out and one of them quickly returned and alerted them that something was wrong.1
2/22/2021Hot Springs, ArkansasA dog and his guardian had to be rescued after falling into an icy pond.1
2/21/2021Robeson County, North CarolinaA dog had to be rescued after being left chained outside in standing, freezing-cold floodwater.1
2/20/2021Montgomery, AlabamaMontgomery Humane Society officers removed about 40 animals who had been left outside on chains or without shelter during cold weather in the few weeks prior.40
2/20/2021Woodhaven, MichiganA dog was stuck on the frozen Detroit River for four days and was rescued by a good Samaritan.1
2/19/2021Murfreesboro, Tennessee A dog had to be rescued after falling into a frozen pool.1
2/19/2021Houston, TexasAn elderly Labrador was rescued after being left outside in freezing temperatures.1
2/18/2021Franklin County, OhioA dog suffering from a BB shot to the head was abandoned inside a cage in a snowy parking lot.1
2/18/2021Houston, TexasA dog was rescued after being left outside in freezing temperatures.1
2/18/2021Harvey County, KansasA cat was rescued after being abandoned in the cold.1
2/18/2021San Antonio, TexasA woman found a dog wandering around outside during frigid temperatures and used tortillas to lure him into her car.1
2/18/2021Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, CanadaA dog was rescued after being found outside in freezing temperatures. He was suffering from frostbite on his ears and tail.1
2/17/2021Franklin, TennesseeA man jumped into a partially frozen pond to save his dog, who had fallen in.1
2/17/2021Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaA dog had to be rescued by police officers after being left on a balcony while it was snowing.1
2/16/2021Toronto, OntarioA dog had to be rescued from an icy pond.1
2/16/2021Harris County, TexasEight dogs and a pig were rescued from a property after being left outside in freezing temperatures.9
2/15/2021Southlake, TexasA dog playing in the snow in his backyard wandered onto a partially frozen pool and fell in. His guardian rescued him.1
2/15/2021Youngstown, OhioOne puppy had to be rescued after being abandoned in a crate in the freezing rain. The crate had the word “Free” written on the side of it.1
2/15/2021Bellmead, TexasTwo puppies had to be rescued after being left in a dumpster during single-digit temperatures.2
2/15/2021Houston, TexasEight dogs had to be rescued after being left outside in freezing temperatures. They were all malnourished, and one had a broken jaw.8
2/15/2021Houston, TexasOne dog died and five others had to be rescued after being left outside an auto body shop in subzero temperatures.1
2/15/2021Princeton, MinnesotaA cat had to be rescued after being found outside in freezing temperatures and suffering from frostbite.1
2/14/2021Albuquerque, New MexicoA dog was rescued after getting stuck between two boulders during a hike. It was freezing outside, so firefighters had to work quickly to free him.1
2/14/2021Oxford, MississippiA puppy had to be rescued from a frozen lake after falling through the ice while fetching a stick.1
2/14/2021Hot Springs, ArkansasA man and his dog had to be rescued by police after falling into a frozen pond.1
2/14/2021Southlake, TexasA dog had to be rescued by his guardian and a police officer after falling into an icy pond.1
2/14/2021Cedar Springs, MichiganA woman found a cat nearly frozen to one of the tires on her car. The animal is recovering.1
2/14/2021Grapeland, TexasFour horses and four dogs were rescued from a property after being left outside in subzero temperatures. Officials found one dog dead.8
2/13/2021Frankfort, KentuckyNine puppies were abandoned outside an animal shelter after hours in freezing temperatures. Five of them died.4
2/12/2021Houston TexasHarris County deputies rescued a dog found in distress after being left outside in a crate during cold, rainy weather. The dog was released to a family member, and the owner was charged with cruelty to animals.1
2/8/2021Wichita, KansasFirefighters rescued a dog trapped on a partially frozen pond.1
2/8/2021Omaha, NebraskaA cat was rescued after getting stuck in a chain-link fence in the snow.1
2/8/2021Topeka, KansasThree fire departments worked together to rescue a dog who had fallen into an icy river.1
2/8/2021St. Louis, MissouriA dog and her puppy froze to death after being abandoned in their doghouse on the side of a road. They were among the more than 30 dogs and cats found outside in the cold in just three days and taken to Stray Rescue of St. Louis.28
2/7/2021Escondido, CaliforniaA dog had to be rescued after being tied to a pole and abandoned in a park.1
1/28/2021Omaha, NebraskaRescue crews had to save a dog and the dog’s two guardians after they fell into an icy pond.1
1/27/2021Mansfield, OhioA 4-month-old puppy was abandoned outside the Richland County Animal Shelter after hours and wasn’t discovered until the following day. The temperature dropped to 18 degrees that night.1
1/24/2021Sydney, Nova Scotia, CanadaA couple rescued a cat who was living outside in the cold and suffering from frostbite.1
1/24/2021Branford, ConnecticutA dog was found outside in the early morning after being abandoned in freezing temperatures. He was suffering from frostbite on his paws as well as other medical conditions because of neglect.1
1/20/2021New York, New YorkA dog was rescued by police officers after falling into the icy Jamaica Bay.1
1/17/2021Cairo, New YorkA dog found in a shed, trying to keep warm after being abandoned, had been suffering from malnutrition and dehydration for many months and was 20 pounds underweight.1
1/13/2021Catawissa, PennsylvaniaA 12-year-old poodle mix was found abandoned outside a Dollar General store. He was treated for hypothermia, and an investigation is underway to find out who abandoned him.1
1/12/2021Oklahoma City, OklahomaSeven puppies were rescued after being left outside in the cold. Their mother didn’t survive.7
1/8/2021Lackawanna County, PennsylvaniaA dog was tied to a pole and abandoned outside an animal shelter during 24-degree weather. He was discovered and rescued.1
1/7/2021San Antonio, TexasA puppy was abandoned in a cardboard box outside an animal shelter, in the freezing cold. He survived and will be adopted out once old enough.1
1/3/2021Burlington, VermontA 10-year-old Great Dane was found abandoned on the side of the road in freezing temperatures.1
1/3/2021Québec, CanadaA woman took in a cat who was suffering from frostbite, worms, and rotten teeth after being abandoned outdoors in the cold.1
12/31/2020Fort St. John, British Columbia, CanadaA semi-truck driver rescued a cat who had been run over and was frozen to the road.1
12/28/2020Avon, OhioA golden retriever was rescued by police officers after falling into an icy pond at Veterans Memorial Park.1
12/23/2020Needham, MassachusettsA dog and a woman were rescued after falling through ice into the Charles River.1
12/22/2020Eastchester, New YorkFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into a partially frozen lake.1
12/22/2020Frederick, MarylandA dog and the dog’s guardian had to be rescued after falling into an icy lake.1
12/21/2020Rochester, New YorkTwo dogs fell into a partially frozen pond. One dog was rescued, but the other one died.1
12/20/2020Wasatch County, UtahThree people and a dog were rescued from a partially frozen reservoir.1
12/18/2020Easton, Connecticut A dog and the dog’s guardian had to be rescued after falling into an icy pond.1
12/17/2020Whittemore, MichiganA dog had to be rescued by his guardian after falling into an icy river.1
12/16/2020Box Elder County, UtahA dog and his guardian had to be rescued after falling through the ice at Mantua Reservoir. The dog sustained lacerations and hypothermia.1
12/16/2020Round Lake, New YorkA woman who was digging her truck out of the snow found a cat who had sought shelter underneath the vehicle before it was buried by a snowplow. The animal was rescued and survived.1
12/11/2020Shawano, WisconsinFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy river.1
12/11/2020High Point, NCSomeone has been abandoning cats outside the Guilford County Animal Shelter. It has happened at least four times.5
12/10/2020Woodbury, VermontVolunteer firefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy lake.1
12/10/2020Colrain, MassachusettsFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through ice on a partially frozen pond.1
12/7/2020Lone Tree, ColoradoFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy pond on a golf course.1
12/5/2020Concord Township, OhioFirefighters rescued a dog who was trapped on thin ice in the middle of a pond.1
12/2/2020Horace, North DakotaFirefighters rescued a dog who was stranded on a chunk of ice in a river.1
10/26/2020Commerce City, ColoradoA kitten was found with her paws and tail frozen to the rim of a semi-trailer tire. The man who discovered her used warm water to free her, and she was taken to a shelter.1
12/11/2020MinnesotaA dog ran away from his new home on December 11 and wasn’t caught until 66 days later after enduring extreme cold.1
12/11/2020Greensboro, NCTwo cats were left in carriers by a dumpster outside a cat clinic during freezing temperatures. They survived.2
11/25/2020Bevent, WisconsinFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice on a partially frozen pond.1
11/16/2020Dickinson, North DakotaFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy river.1
3/30/2020Pinedale, WyomingA sheriff’s deputy rescued a dog who had fallen into a partially frozen lake.1
3/9/2020Leominster, MassachusettsA woman who was walking her dog with her family saw a dog who had fallen into a freezing pond and gotten stuck between two blocks of ice. She crawled out onto the ice and was able to rescue the animal.1
3/5/2020Sherburne County, MinnesotaSheriff’s deputies rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy river.1
3/4/2020Olmsted County, MinnesotaA dog and three people who had tried to help the animal were rescued from Lake Zumbro.1
3/2/2020Muskegon, MichiganA dog was rescued after he went missing and was later found trapped on a piece of ice in the middle of a lake.1
2/29/2020Neptune City, New JerseyEight dogs and puppies were rescued from a porch after being left outside during below-freezing temperatures. They were in cages covered by a tarp and had no access to food, water, or heat.8
2/25/2020Leverett, MassachusettsFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy pond.1
2/23/2020Chicago, IllinoisFirefighters rescued a dog and the animal’s guardian from a partially frozen lagoon.1
2/18/2020Colorado Springs, ColoradoTwo dogs were rescued by firefighters after falling through the ice on a partially frozen body of water at a park.2
2/16/2020Springfield Township, OhioA police officer and a kayaker rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice on a partially frozen pond.1
2/15/2020Boston, MassachusettsFirefighters rescued a dog and his or her guardian from a partially frozen pond.1
2/12/2020Plainfield, IllinoisFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice on a partially frozen pond.1
2/9/2020Denver, ColoradoA dog and his or her guardian died after falling into an icy pond.1
2/6/2020Vermilion, OhioA young cat was found huddled and half frozen by an electric meter outside a business​. He wasn’t able to move, his fur was wet and frozen on one side, and his paws were bright pink. After a worker found him and warmed him up, he was taken to a veterinary​ office.1
2/2/2020Winthrop, New YorkFirefighters rescued a horse who had fallen into an icy river. The animal sustained minor scrapes and bruises.1
2/1/2020Flagstaff, ArizonaFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy lake.1
1/31/2020South Milwaukee, WisconsinFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice on Lake Michigan.1
1/30/2020Tilton, New HampshireFirefighters rescued a dog who was stuck on thin ice in the middle of a lake.1
1/30/2020Jefferson County, ColoradoFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into frigid water following a car crash.1
1/30/2020Oshkosh, WisconsinFirefighters rescued a dog who was wearing a harness and leash from a frozen river.1
1/29/2020Bloomington, MinnesotaFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy river.1
1/27/2020Saint John, New Brunswick, CanadaA dog and four children were rescued after falling through the ice on the St. John River.1
1/26/2020Louisville, KentuckyA dog suffering from hypothermia was rescued by staff at Louisville Metro Animal Services after being tied to a fence outside the facility during cold weather.1
1/24/2020Manson, WashingtonFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into a partially frozen lake.1
1/24/2020Salem, MassachusettsSomeone tied a dog to a pole outside an animal shelter during freezing temperatures. The dog was found and was fine.1
1/22/2020Drayton Valley, AB, CanadaThree kittens were found, frozen to the ground. An oil worker found them and used warm coffee to unstick them from the ground, and they survived.3
1/22/2020Fort Smith, ArkansasA freezing cat with leg wounds was rescued after being spotted in a park.1
1/21/2020Jackson, MississippiA dog was found emaciated with a low body temperature after being left outside for two nights in 20-degree weather. Rescuers responded to an anonymous tip that she was in danger, and her owner subsequently surrendered her to rescuers. The dog was receiving veterinary care.1
1/19/2020East Greenwich, Rhode IslandFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy pond.1
1/19/2020Sterling, MassachusettsFirefighters rescued a dog and his guardian from an icy pond.1
1/18/2020Glendale, WisconsinFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through thin ice into the Milwaukee River.1
1/17/2020Jefferson County, IdahoA dog was rescued by his or her guardian after falling into an icy river.1
1/16/2020Burr Ridge, IllinoisA dog’s guardians went to church, forgetting that he was outside in 16-degree weather. While they were gone, he got stuck in the fence and was heard barking for an hour until authorities were called. A police officer was able to free him and took the dog into his care until the guardians came home.1
1/15/2020Bolton, MassachusettsFirefighters rescued a dog and his or her guardian from a partially frozen pond.1
1/14/2020Palmyra, WisconsinA dog and his or her guardian were rescued after falling into an icy pond.1
1/6/2020Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaFirefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into the Ottawa River.1
1/5/2020Amesbury, MassachusettsA pit bull who ran away from her home fell through the ice on a pond and had to be rescued by firefighters. ​1
1/1/2020Boulder, ColoradoA woman fell through the ice on a lake while trying to rescue her dog, who had done the same. Firefighters rescued both of them.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.

Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

 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