43 Companion Animals Endured Cold Weather-Related Deaths in 2018—That We Know Of

The number of dogs and other companion animals who have reportedly died from causes related to cold weather in 2018:


Every year, PETA receives reports about dogs, cats, and other animals who have died after being left outdoors in cold weather. In 2018 alone, 43 companion animals died because of cold weather—and those are just the deaths that were reported. Most aren’t.

Year Deaths Rescues Incidents
2023 1 110 See the list.
2022 34 364 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 in 2018:

Date Location Notes Number of Dogs and Other Animals Who Died
12/19/2018 Auburn, Alabama Authorities say that a dog was found dead in the cold. An investigation was ongoing. 1
11/22/2018 Montréal, Québec A dog named Buddy froze to death after his guardian, who is homeless, couldn’t find shelter in below-freezing temperatures. 1
2/16/2018 Middletown, Ohio Three dogs were found dead of starvation. The owner reportedly said that she never gave the dogs bedding to keep them warm. 3
2/14/2018 Detroit, Michigan A dog was dumped, still inside his or her doghouse, on the road in front of a daycare center. 1
1/26/2018 Rhinelander, Wisconsin Authorities found a dog who had frozen to death inside a crate in a garage in which the temperate was zero degrees. 1
1/19/2018 Lenoir County, North Carolina Two puppies died after a heat lamp fell inside their pen and caught fire. 2
1/14/2018 Cornelia, Georgia Residents called police after spotting a dead puppy inside a cage on their neighbor’s porch. The man was arrested on felony cruelty-to-animal charges. It was 24 degrees outside. 1
1/14/2018 St. Mary Parish, Louisiana Officials found a dog frozen to death inside a doghouse. 1
1/14/2018 Shreveport, Louisiana A stray dog was found frozen to death in a couple’s yard. 1
1/11/2018 Charleston, West Virginia Officials received a call that a dog had died. When they arrived at the scene, they found a dog who was frozen to the ground. It looked as though he or she had been trying to dig under the doghouse in an attempt to get warm. 1
1/9/2018 Decatur, Illinois A pit bull froze to death inside her doghouse. The owner, who allegedly tried to cover up the fact that she had frozen to death, was arrested. 1
1/8/2018 Butler County, Ohio Three dogs died after being neglected during cold weather. Four others were found alive but severely malnourished. The local dog warden said that there was no food, water, or appropriate shelter. 3
1/6/2018 Normal, Indiana Police found a dog named Clara barely moving under a tree. Officers said that her ears and tail were frozen and that there was ice on her nose and tail. She reportedly died shortly after being found. 1
1/6/2018 Norristown, Pennsylvania A pit bull died after being left outside during freezing weather. 1
1/3/2018 or 1/4/2018 Winston-Salem, North Carolina A man was arrested for allegedly letting a dog freeze to death in subzero temperatures. 1
1/3/2018 Marion, Indiana A dog died after being abandoned in the woods inside a crate. A blanket covered the crate. 1
1/2/2018 Aiken County, South Carolina During cold temperatures, officers who were called to a house to check on two children found a dead puppy in the backyard. 1
1/1/2018 and 1/2/2018 Central Ohio The Franklin County Dog Shelter said that three dogs froze to death during a two-day period in central Ohio. No other details were reported. 3
1/1/2018 Arbutus, Maryland A dog died from hypothermia after being denied proper shelter. 1
1/1/2018 Cantonment, Florida A space heater fell over inside a kennel, starting a fire and killing three puppies and their mother. 4
1/1/2018 Detroit, Michigan A man left his dog in a crate outside a shelter around 1 a.m. Temperatures dipped below zero, and the animal died. 1
1/1/2018 Hartford, Connecticut A concerned neighbor reported that a dog was being left outside in bitter temperatures. When the police arrived, they found him dead inside his doghouse. 1
1/1/2018 Indianapolis, Indiana Indianapolis Animal Care Services officers reportedly found a dog frozen to death. No other details were reported. 1
1/1/2018 Kennett, Missouri A dog was found malnourished, frozen to death, and hanging from a porch by a leash. The animal’s foot had gotten caught in it. 1
1/1/2018 Lynchburg, Virginia When an officer was checking on a dog who was reportedly left outside during cold weather, he found another dog who was dead. Both animals were in doghouses and tied up. 1
1/1/2018 Stillwater, Oklahoma Eight puppies in a plastic tub were abandoned outside an apartment. Only five survived. 3
1/2018 Butler County, Ohio A local dog warden performing a welfare check on a dog found the animal in a doghouse with no insulation. The dog had frozen to death during subzero temperatures. 1
1/2018 Cairo, Illinois Two dogs were found frozen to death. 2
1/2018 Cumberland County, North Carolina Authorities found a dog who was frozen to death and tethered to a tree. 1
1/2018 Washougal, Washington Relatives found a dog frozen to death inside a garage. The animal was covered with urine and feces. Necropsy results showed that the dog had also starved. 1

The following list is a compilation of cold weather–related rescues of companion animals reported by the media in 2018:

Date Location Notes Number of Dogs and Other Animals Who Were Rescued
12/24/2018 Hobart, Indiana A college student jumped into an icy lake to save a stray cat who had fallen in. 1
12/16/2018 Lafayette, Colorado A dog who was chasing a ball fell into an icy pond. A little boy the dog belonged to went after him, but he fell in, too. Both were rescued. 1
12/15/2018 Sadieville, Kentucky A puppy was found inside a bag full of rocks that had been thrown into a nearly frozen creek. Highway workers took her to an animal shelter, where she was diagnosed with hypothermia. 1
12/13/2018 German Township, Pennsylvania A dog was left outside in 26-degree weather for an extended period of time without food or water. State police are reportedly filing charges. 1
11/25/2018 Wagoner, Oklahoma Six puppies were abandoned outside a veterinary clinic during freezing temperatures. 6
11/23/2018 South Sioux City, Nebraska A dog was chasing geese when he fell through the ice on a lake. His guardian tried to get him, but he fell in, too. They were both rescued. 1
11/23/2018 Winterset, Iowa A dog was left out in the cold. She reportedly would not have survived one more night. 1
11/22/2018 Rocky Point, New York Twenty-one dogs were rescued after being found outside during cold temperatures. 21
11/11/2018 Pocatello, Idaho A rescue team retrieved a cat, who reportedly had been thrown into a river. 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.


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