37 Animal Companions Endured Cold Weather-Related Deaths In 2019 … That We Know Of

The number of dogs and other animal companions who reportedly died from causes related to weather in 2019:

37

Every year, PETA receives reports about dogs, cats, and other animals who have died outside during cold weather. The chart below shows the number of incidents in 2019—and these are just the ones that were reported. Most almost certainly aren’t

Year Deaths Rescues Incidents
2020-2022 42 787 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 animal companion deaths reported in 2019:

Date Location Notes Number of Dogs and Other Animals Who Died
12/12/2019 Adams County, Colorado When emergency crews deployed a boat to rescue a small dog who had wandered onto an ice-covered pond, the ice broke and the dog fell into the water. The crew was able to grab the animal but couldn’t revive him or her. It’s unclear where the dog’s guardian was at the time. 1
12/11/2019 Adams County, Colorado While being walked on a leash, a dog bolted after a goose, slipping away from his or her guardian. The dog chased the goose onto an icy pond and fell through. Emergency crews were unable to rescue the dog. 1
11/26/2019 South Okanagan, British Columbia Five cats were found living in a metal crate on a truck bed in freezing temperatures. Four of them died. 4
11/12/2019 Kokomo, Indiana A dog died after going missing during freezing-cold weather. The dog’s 79-year-old guardian had to be rescued by police after falling into an icy creek while searching for the animal. 1
11/10/2019 Midlothian, Virginia Four puppies were abandoned outside an animal shelter overnight and found the next morning. One of them had frozen to death.​​ 1
3/13/2019 Whatcom County, Washington Two dogs fell through the ice of a pond, and two men died trying to save them. One of the dogs survived. 1
3/6/2019 Hamilton Township, New Jersey Four dogs were left outside during temperatures as low as 9 degrees. One died, reportedly from congestive heart failure. 1
2/13/2019 Atchison, Kansas A dog died after being left tethered outside during freezing temperatures. Another dog on the same property was rescued. 1
2/11/2019 Wirt, New York A dog was found frozen to the floor of a mobile home. 1
2/5/2019 Omaha, Nebraska The bodies of two dogs were found thrown down a ravine. According to the necropsies, the primary cause of death was starvation and the secondary cause was hypothermia. 2
2/3/2019 East Hampton, New York A man and two dogs fell into an icy harbor while on a walk. All three were rescued, but one of the dogs died shortly afterward. 1
2/3/2019 Long Island, New York A man denied four chickens adequate shelter. The chickens froze to death. He’s due in court in April. 4
2/3/2019 Essex, Ontario, Canada A cat who was found by the side of a road in January suffering from severe hypothermia and neglect died a month later after continuing to suffer from long-term damage because of the hypothermia. 1
1/31/2019 Indianapolis, Indiana A dog was found dead—starved, emaciated, dehydrated, and exposed to the cold—in an empty garage. 1
1/30/2019 Wheaton, Illinois A kitten was found during extremely cold weather by a police officer, who took her to the vet. Staff first thought she would be OK but then discovered that she had severe frostbite. She had to be euthanized. 1
1/30/2019 Pulaski County, Kentucky A fire may have been caused by a heat lamp that was being used to keep a family’s dogs and cats warm outside on a porch. A 12-year-old boy and four dogs died. Some cats who were also at the house were unaccounted for. 6
1/30/2019 Indianapolis, Indiana After receiving a call to check on the welfare of a dog, animal control found the animal frozen to death in a dumpster. The dog had reportedly been left outside in a wooden doghouse in freezing temperatures (the wind chill was below zero degrees), and the owner allegedly put the dead dog in the trash. 1
1/30/2019 Delphi, Indiana A zebra who lived on a farm reportedly froze to death after getting caught in a fence. 1
1/30/2019 Iowa County, Iowa A dog was found frozen to death. Two others were also found on the property but were still alive. 1
1/29/2018 New Lebanon, New York A dog froze to death after allegedly being left outside during extremely cold temperatures. The animal also had no food or water, officials said. 1
1/29/2019 Livingston County, Michigan Three cats were found suffering from hypothermia in separate cases. They all died. 3
1/28/2019 Youngstown, Ohio Animal-welfare officers reportedly found at least one dog dead because of freezing temperatures. 1
1/24/2019 Manchester, Tennessee

A dog allegedly froze to death after being left outside in the cold, according to a neighbor. A necropsy will reportedly be performed.

 

1

The following list is a compilation of cold weather–related animal companion rescues reported in 2019:

Date Location Notes Number of Dogs and Other Animals Who Were Rescued
12/29/2019 Wausau, Wisconsin A dog was rescued by firefighters after falling through the ice on a river. 1
12/15/2019 Bismarck, North Dakota A domestic cat who had been abandoned outside during freezing temperatures was found by an animal shelter volunteer. 1
12/4/2019 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania A dog was found abandoned in a crate on top of a dumpster in snowy, freezing weather. 1
12/4/2019 Pasco County, Florida Firefighters rescued a dog who was stranded in a cold lake at 2 a.m. 1
11/30/2019 West Haven, Utah Three puppies and their mother were found abandoned on a mountain. Rescuers were able to secure the puppies but will need to go back for the mother, as they couldn’t capture her. Reportedly, she was guarding sheep on the mountain during the summer and ran off to have her babies. 4
11/28/2019 Meyers, California A man was walking with three dogs near an icy lake when the dogs all went in. The man attempted to rescue them but drowned in the process. The dogs were later rescued by authorities. 3
11/28/2019 Little  Rock Arkansas A dog was found shivering, starving, and living in a wet mattress during 40-degree temperatures. He was rescued and is being nursed back to health. 1
11/26/2019 South Okanagan, British Columbia Five cats were found living in a metal crate on a truck bed in freezing temperatures. Four of them died. 4
11/16/2019 Rochester, Minnesota Ten minutes after a dog fell through thin ice on Cascade Lake, the animal’s guardians called for help, and the dog was rescued by firefighters. 1
11/14/2019 Cloverdale, Ohio A small dog walked onto a frozen pond and was unable to make it back to land. The dogs guardians called the fire dept. who came out and were able to get the dog off the ice and safely on land. 1
11/12/2019 Manorville, New York Police were called to “a nonresidential area,” where they found two dogs chained and four others in cages outdoors in 25-degree weather. The animals were confiscated. 6
11/10/2019 Cedar County, Iowa A dog, later named Rosco, was found nearly frozen to death in a ditch. He was taken to an animal shelter by a good Samaritan. ​ 1
11/10/2019 Midlothian, Virginia Four puppies were abandoned outside an animal shelter overnight and found the next morning. One of them had frozen to death.​​ 3
4/5/2019 Highland, Indiana A senior dog had to be rescued by police and firefighters after falling into an icy creek. 1
3/26/2019 Duluth, Minnesota A dog had fallen through the ice (after reportedly chasing geese) and into the St. Louis River about 40 yards from shore and had to be rescued by firefighters. 1
3/25/2019 Shawano, Wisconsin A volunteer firefighter rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice on the channel between the Wolf River and Shawano Lake. 1
3/25/2019 Bozeman, Montana A dog has to be rescued from a partially frozen pond by a firefighter after falling through thin ice. It took about 2 minutes. 1
3/20/2019 Milwaukee, Wisconsin A U.S. Coast Guard officer rescued a small dog who had fallen through the ice on the Milwaukee River. 1
3/19/2019 Hamilton, Massachusetts Firefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice on a lake. 1
3/18/2019 Trempealeau County, Wisconsin A dog who had fallen through ice in a flooded field was rescued with help from the sheriff’s department and fire department. 1
3/17/2019 Lake Elmo, Minnesota Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy pond. 1
3/17/2019 Oxford, Massachusetts Two people tried to rescue a dog from an icy pond but ended up having to be rescued by firefighters. The people and the dog were OK. 1
3/14/2019 Monona, Wisconsin A dog who fell into freezing-cold water was rescued by a kayaker and some firefighters. 1
3/13/2019 Whatcom County, Washington Two dogs fell through the ice of a pond, and two men died trying to save them. One of the dogs survived. 1
3/11/2019 Springfield, Massachusetts A dog was rescued by firefighters and state police officers after falling through thin ice on a small pond. 1
3/9/2019 Lisle, Illinois A veterinarian and a vet tech rescued a dog from an icy pond. The dog was found to have a broken pelvis, but reportedly, the injury was unrelated to this incident. 1
3/9/2019 Irvington, New York Two dogs were rescued after falling through the ice on a reservoir. 2
3/6/2019 Hamilton Township, New Jersey Four dogs were left outside during temperatures as low as 9 degrees. One died, reportedly from congestive heart failure. 3
3/5/2019 Warren, Massachusetts A horse had to be rescued after falling through the ice on a pond. 1
3/4/2019 Muncie, Indiana A cat was rescued after being found nearly frozen under a car. The animal’s back legs were paralyzed, and the tail had to be amputated. 1
3/4/2019 Huntertown, Indiana A dog was rescued by firefighters after falling through ice on a pond. 1
3/3/2019 Kansas City, Missouri A dog was left outside an animal shelter in frigid temperatures. 1
3/3/2019 Plainville, Massachusetts Firefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through ice on a lake. 1
3/3/2019 Cottonwood Heights, Utah Police rescued a dog who had been left inside a cold car. 1
2/28/2019 Suffield, Connecticut A dog was found tied to a tree during a snowstorm. 1
2/26/2019 Haverhill, Massachusetts A dog was left inside a freezing car while the animal’s owner ate at a restaurant. 1
2/25/2019 Spencerport, New York A dog fell through the ice on the Erie Canal and had to be rescued by a police officer. 1
2/21/2019 Herriman, Utah While on a walk, a woman let go of her dog’s leash to let the animal “play” with some ducks, and the dog fell through the ice on a pond. The woman tried to save her but fell in, too. They were both rescued by a good Samaritan. 1
2/15/2019 Syracuse, New York A good Samaritan saved a cat who was found frozen to a guardrail. 1
2/13/2019 Atchison, Kansas Two dogs were tethered outside during freezing temperatures. One was rescued, and the other died. 1
2/12/2019 Uniondale, New York A dog was found abandoned and tied to a porch in the freezing cold. She was rescued by police officers. 1
2/11/2019 Wirt, New York Four dogs were found inside a mobile home without food, water, or heat. The body of another dog was found frozen to the floor. 4
2/11/2019 Rich Square, North Carolina PETA fieldworkers rescued a dog found wandering in freezing temperatures. 1
2/11/2019 Howard, New York Thirty-two dogs, six puppies, and a kitten were found outside in the cold without food. 39
2/9/2019 Jefferson County, Missouri A dog bound with duct tape was found in a ditch in 30-degree weather. 1
2/8/2019 Edgewood, Washington A teenager and her dog fell into an icy pond and were rescued. 1
2/6/2019 Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada Transit workers discovered a dog shivering in a bus shelter and kept him warm until the local humane society picked him up. 1
2/6/2019 Kansas City, Missouri A dog found stranded on a piece of land surrounded by a frozen pond was reunited with family. 1
2/5/2019 Moorhead, Minnesota A man found a cat nearly frozen to the ground on the side of a road. He took the animal to a veterinarian, who said that he was suffering from frostbite and could have died if he’d been out much longer. 1
2/4/2019 Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada A woman arrived home to find a puppy inside a box on her doorstep during freezing temperatures. She fosters companion animals and believes someone purposely abandoned him on her doorstep. He’s doing well. 1
2/3/2019 Trenton, Michigan A dog fell through the ice on a river. His guardian tried to get him, but he fell in as well. They were both rescued. 1
2/3/2019 East Hampton, New York A man and two dogs fell into an icy harbor while on a walk. All three were rescued, but one of the dogs died shortly afterward. 1
2/2/2019 Utah County, Utah A dog was rescued from a snow cavern after wandering off and falling in. 1
2/1/2019 West Chester, Pennsylvania A dog and his guardian were rescued after falling through the ice on a pond. 1
2/1/2019 South Bend, Indiana Eleven dogs were seized from homes after they were left outside during severely cold temperatures. Some had frostbite forming on their ears. 11
1/31/2019 Camden, New Jersey A dog was rescued after being spotted behind a business during below-freezing temperatures. 1
1/31/2019 Emmett Township, Michigan Seventeen dogs were rescued from kennels in the freezing cold. Investigators suspected that they were bred for dog fighting. 17
1/31/2019 Kalispell, Montana A cat’s guardians came home to find that their adopted cat had somehow escaped. She was found outside, injured, and buried in the snow. They rushed her to an animal clinic, where she received treatment. Fluffy’s survival is uncommon—most cats who are outdoors during cold winter months suffer from extremely painful frostbite (and ensuing infections) or are maimed or killed by fan blades when they crawl into vehicle engines seeking warmth. 1
1/31/2019 Dayton, Ohio Three dogs were rescued from a house after being found in inadequate conditions during below-freezing temperatures. It was 11 degrees outside with subzero wind chills. 3
1/31/2019 Dover, Delaware A dog who had escaped from home was outside for three weeks. The animal was eventually found and was OK. 1
1/31/2019 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Firefighters rescued a stray cat who was “clinging to life” in the middle of the Rideau River. He had wounds on his face, tail, and paws. 1
1/30/2019 Columbus, Ohio A dog who was tied outside in freezing conditions was rescued by police officers and taken to an animal shelter. 1
1/30/2019 Indianapolis, Indiana A dog and his guardian were found stranded on the side of the road in the freezing cold. Both were rescued. 1
1/30/2019 Youngstown, Ohio An Animal Charity humane officer and two Mahoning County Dog Warden deputies freed three animals chained outside with bolt cutters. In a separate incident,  animal-care officers rescued a dog from a junkyard. 4
1/30/2019 Ackley, Iowa The Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Iowa reportedly rescued two dogs left outside in the snow with no access to food, water, or adequate shelter. According to the ARL, they were taken to its animal shelter. 2
1/30/2019 Davenport, Iowa A young cat was rescued after being found outside in freezing temperatures. She was taken to a veterinarian and is expected to survive. 1
1/30/2019 Galesburg, Illinois A dog who was chained outside during a polar vortex was rescued after concerned neighbors called local authorities. The animal was taken into custody, but his or her future is uncertain. 1
1/30/2019 Des Moines, Iowa Two dogs were found chained outside in below-zero temperatures, without food, water, or adequate shelter. They were rescued by local animal control. 2
1/29/2019 Kitchener, Ontario A dog was found tied to a pole in -17-degree Celsius (1-degree Fahrenheit) weather. 1
1/29/2019 Greenwood Village, Colorado A dog fell into an icy pond and was rescued by firefighters. 1
1/29/2019 Stewardson, Illinois A dog was seized by authorities after the owner neglected to provide adequate shelter and water during cold weather. 1
1/29/2019 Detroit, Michigan A dog was found lying on the ground and suffering from frostbite. He was rescued by Detroit Pit Crew Dog Rescue. 1
1/28/2019 Princeton, Minnesota A dog escaped from her foster home and spent 17 days in freezing temperatures before being found. 1
1/28/2019 Ringgold County, Iowa A kitten was found frozen to the ground outside a couple’s home. She was taken to a veterinarian and is expected to survive. 1
1/27/2019 Pike Creek, Delaware A dog who was chasing after geese fell through the ice of a pond. The animal’s guardians—a man and his son—tried to get the dog, but the man fell in. His son pulled him to nearby rocks. A bystander called 911, and the three were rescued. 1
1/27/2019 Chicago, Illinois A man jumped into icy Lake Michigan to rescue his dog. After he saved the dog, he needed rescuing himself. 1
1/27/2019 New Castle County, Delaware A dog who was chasing a goose fell through the ice of a pond. Two men tried to save him but also fell in. They were all rescued. The men were taken to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia, and the dog was taken to a veterinary clinic. All were OK. 1
1/26/2019 Collinsville, Oklahoma After a dog ran onto an icy pond and fell in, two young boys rescued the animal. 1
1/26/2019 Saskatchewan, Canada Numerous stray dogs and cats were rescued, thanks to a group effort from multiple animal-advocacy groups in the area. With the windchill, the outside temperature was -32.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The animals are now receiving care. 136
1/25/2019 Polk County, Iowa Two dogs who were chained outside couldn’t reach food or water. The only shelter they had was a homemade doghouse and a plastic crate. Their owner was charged with two counts of animal neglect and issued a citation. 2
1/24/2019 Mequon, Wisconsin A dog escaped from his leash while on a walk and fell into an icy river before being rescued. 1
1/24/2019 Boston, Massachusetts A cat was recovering at the Animal Rescue League of Boston after being abandoned in single-digit temperatures at a bus stop. 1
1/23/2019 Rock Falls, Illinois A cat inside a plastic kennel was left at the end of a humane society’s driveway overnight. He survived, even though the kennel had been filled with snow from passing plows. 1
1/22/2019 Taylor County, Florida The Coast Guard rescued two men and a dog who had been in a boat that overturned. The dog showed mild signs of hypothermia. 1
1/22/2019 Margarettsville, North Carolina A small dog was found tightly tied up outside during subfreezing temperatures. PETA staffers rescued the animal. 1
1/21/2019 Collingswood, New Jersey A dog was rescued after falling into icy waters. The animal was treated for hypothermia. 1
1/20/2019 Auburn, California Two teens and a dog were stranded in their car in the snow. One teen went to get help, and eventually, the other two were rescued. 1
1/20/2019 Topeka, Kansas A dog fell through the ice on a lake. Firefighters rescued the animal. 1
1/20/2019 Platteville, Wisconsin A small kitten was found in a ditch during subfreezing temperatures. She was later adopted by the police officer who found her. 1
1/19/2019 Toledo, Ohio A good Samaritan found a cat in a snowbank and took him to The Compassionate Village, where he was hospitalized. A German shepherd was also found outside in the cold. The owner was charged with cruelty to animals for allegedly leaving the dog outside without food, water, or proper shelter. 2
1/16/2019 Franklin Township, Ohio A dog fell into an icy pond and was rescued by fire and emergency crews. 1
1/8/19 Walker Valley, New York A dog fell into icy waters and was rescued by firefighters. 1
1/4/2019 Chippewa County, Michigan A dog ran away from his guardians and was found a week later after he’d just fallen into an icy river. He managed to get onto an island and was later rescued and reunited with his family. 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