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.

202430542See the list.
202313644See the list.
202235364See the list.
202122475See the list.
2020677See the list.
201937322See the list.
20184334See the list.

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

DateLocationNotesNumber of Dogs and Other Animals Who Died
12/19/2018Auburn, AlabamaAuthorities say that a dog was found dead in the cold. An investigation was ongoing.1
11/22/2018Montréal, QuébecA dog named Buddy froze to death after his guardian, who is homeless, couldn’t find shelter in below-freezing temperatures.1
2/16/2018Middletown, OhioThree dogs were found dead of starvation. The owner reportedly said that she never gave the dogs bedding to keep them warm.3
2/14/2018Detroit, MichiganA dog was dumped, still inside his or her doghouse, on the road in front of a daycare center.1
1/26/2018Rhinelander, WisconsinAuthorities found a dog who had frozen to death inside a crate in a garage in which the temperate was zero degrees.1
1/19/2018Lenoir County, North CarolinaTwo puppies died after a heat lamp fell inside their pen and caught fire.2
1/14/2018Cornelia, GeorgiaResidents 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
1/14/2018St. Mary Parish, LouisianaOfficials found a dog frozen to death inside a doghouse.1
1/14/2018Shreveport, LouisianaA stray dog was found frozen to death in a couple’s yard.1
1/11/2018Charleston, West VirginiaOfficials 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
1/9/2018Decatur, IllinoisA 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
1/8/2018Butler County, OhioThree 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
1/6/2018Normal, IndianaPolice 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
1/6/2018Norristown, PennsylvaniaA pit bull died after being left outside during freezing weather.1
1/3/2018 or 1/4/2018Winston-Salem, North CarolinaA man was arrested for allegedly letting a dog freeze to death in subzero temperatures.1
1/3/2018Marion, IndianaA dog died after being abandoned in the woods inside a crate. A blanket covered the crate.1
1/2/2018Aiken County, South CarolinaDuring 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 1/2/2018Central OhioThe 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
1/1/2018Arbutus, MarylandA dog died from hypothermia after being denied proper shelter.1
1/1/2018Cantonment, FloridaA space heater fell over inside a kennel, starting a fire and killing three puppies and their mother.4
1/1/2018Detroit, MichiganA man left his dog in a crate outside a shelter around 1 a.m. Temperatures dipped below zero, and the animal died.1
1/1/2018Hartford, ConnecticutA 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
1/1/2018Indianapolis, IndianaIndianapolis Animal Care Services officers reportedly found a dog frozen to death. No other details were reported.1
1/1/2018Kennett, MissouriA 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
1/1/2018Lynchburg, VirginiaWhen 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
1/1/2018Stillwater, OklahomaEight puppies in a plastic tub were abandoned outside an apartment. Only five survived.3
1/2018Butler County, OhioA 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
1/2018Cairo, IllinoisTwo dogs were found frozen to death.2
1/2018Cumberland County, North CarolinaAuthorities found a dog who was frozen to death and tethered to a tree.1
1/2018Washougal, WashingtonRelatives 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:

DateLocationNotesNumber of Dogs and Other Animals Who Were Rescued
12/24/2018Hobart, IndianaA college student jumped into an icy lake to save a stray cat who had fallen in.1
12/16/2018Lafayette, ColoradoA 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
12/15/2018Sadieville, KentuckyA 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
12/13/2018German Township, PennsylvaniaA 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
11/25/2018Wagoner, OklahomaSix puppies were abandoned outside a veterinary clinic during freezing temperatures.6
11/23/2018South Sioux City, NebraskaA 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
11/23/2018Winterset, IowaA dog was left out in the cold. She reportedly would not have survived one more night.1
11/22/2018Rocky Point, New YorkTwenty-one dogs were rescued after being found outside during cold temperatures.21
11/11/2018Pocatello, IdahoA 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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