22 Companion Animals Endured Cold Weather-Related Deaths in 2021—That We Know Of

The number of dogs and other companion animals who have reportedly died from causes related to cold weather in 2021:

22

Every year, PETA receives reports about dogs, cats, and other animals who have died after being left outdoors in cold weather. In 2021 alone, 22 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 28 See the list.
2022 34 361 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 2021:

Date Location Notes Number of Dogs and Other Animals Who Died
2/22/2021 Fairview Township, Pennsylvania A 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
2/16/2021 Wichita, Kansas A dog froze to death after being tethered outside in freezing temperatures. 1
2/15/2021 Houston, Texas One dog died and five others had to be rescued after being left outside an auto body shop in subzero temperatures. 1
2/15/2021 Davis City, Iowa One dog died after being left outside during freezing temperatures. The owner was not charged nor was his other dog taken away. 1
2/14/2021 Grapeland, Texas Four horses and four dogs were rescued from a property after being left outside in subzero temperatures. Officials found one dog dead. 1
2/13/2021 Noble, Oklahoma After 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
2/13/2021 Frankfort, Kentucky Nine puppies were abandoned outside an animal shelter after hours in freezing temperatures. Five of them died. 5
2/8/2021 Burns Lake, British Columbia, Canada A dog was found half frozen outside in subzero temperatures. A good Samaritan attempted to save him, but the dog died shortly afterward. 1
2/8/2021 Detroit, Michigan A senior dog was found dead in his yard after being left outside in freezing temperatures. 2
2/7/2021 St. Louis, Missouri A 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
1/12/2021 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Animal control found a dog frozen to death. She was with her seven puppies, who were rescued and survived. 1

The following list is a compilation of cold weather–related rescues of companion animals reported by the media in 2021:

Date Location Notes Number of Dogs and Other Animals Who Were Rescued
12/30/2021 Clearwater, British Columbia, Canada Nine dogs were seized from a property after being tied up outside in freezing temperatures. 9
12/30/2021 South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Firefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into cold water inside an abandoned building. 1
12/29/2021 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada A dog was reunited with his guardian after going missing and spending four days in extreme cold. 1
12/27/2022 Nelson, British Columbia, Canada Two dogs were rescued from an avalanche at a ski resort. 2
12/27/2021 Pierce County, Washington Nineteen dogs were rescued after being neglected during a winter storm. 19
12/27/2021 Great Falls, Montana Firefighters rescued two dogs from an icy river. 2
12/27/2021 Liberty, Wisconsin Two dogs made it back to shore after falling through ice on a lake. 2
12/26/2021 Santa Clarita, California Thirty-one dogs were rescued after being tied up under a railway bridge in freezing temperatures. 31
12/26/2021 Moultonborough, New Hampshire Three people rescued a dog from an icy lake. 1
12/26/2021 Grand County, Colorado A dog was rescued by skiers after being buried in an avalanche. 1
Week of 12/26/2021 Lawton, Oklahoma Humane Society of Lawton–Comanche County officials rescued a malnourished dog found outside in the cold. 1
12/24/2021 Papillion, Nebraska After falling through ice on a lake, a dog was rescued by his or her guardian. 1
12/21/2021 Denver, Colorado Firefighters rescued two dogs from an icy pond. 2
12/20/2021 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy river. 1
12/17/2021 El Paso, Texas A woman was arrested after allegedly leaving an elderly dog out in the cold. 1
12/17/2021 Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada Seven puppies were rescued after being found at a garbage dump in cold weather. 7
12/16/2021 Lake Tahoe, California A dog was rescued by volunteers after being found stuck in 5 feet of snow. 1
12/13/2021 Calgary, Alberta, Canada A pregnant dog was rescued after being found tied to a wooden pole in the snow. 1
12/13/2021 Fort Collins, Colorado Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake. 1
12/11/2021 Denver, Colorado Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake. 1
12/10/2021 Waterdown, Ontario, Canada Firefighters rescued a dog and a man from an icy pond. 1
12/8/2021 Carroll, New York Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy pond. 1
12/6/2021 St. Paul, Minnesota An emaciated dog was rescued after being caged outside in freezing temperatures 1
12/2/2021 Airdrie, Alberta, Canada Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy canal. 1
12/2021 Bridgewater, Virginia A missing dog was rescued from an icy river after spending a week out in the cold. 1
11/30/2021 Belfair, Washington Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy river. 1
11/29/2021 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy river. 1
4/11/2021 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Rescuers saved a dog who had fallen through the ice on a partially frozen river. 1
4/6/2021 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Rescuers saved a dog who had fallen through the ice on a partially frozen river. 1
3/26/2021 Lebanon, New Hampshire Firefighters rescued a dog who was trapped on a partially frozen lake. 1
3/24/2021 Cairo, New York Police officers rescued two dogs who had fallen through ice on a reservoir. 2
3/21/2021 Bigfork, Montana Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake. 1
3/18/2021 Edwards, Colorado Firefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through ice on a partially frozen lake. 1
3/7/2021 Bolingbrook, Illinois Two dogs had to be rescued by firefighters after falling into an icy pond. 2
3/6/2021 Idaho Falls, Idaho Three dogs were rescued by firefighters after falling into the Snake River. 3
3/5/2021 Long Beach, New York Police officers rescued a dog who was locked inside a freezing van on a 29-degree night. 1
3/5/2021 Monee, Illinois Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy reservoir. 1
3/5/2021 Wheaton, Illinois A dog had to be rescued from an icy pond. 1
3/4/2021 Manteno, Illinois A dog was rescued by two police officers after falling into an icy lake. 1
3/4/2021 Hanson, Massachusetts Firefighters rescued a dog who had fallen into an icy pond. 1
3/4/2021 Oronoco, Minnesota A dog had to be rescued after falling into an icy lake. 1
3/3/2021 Hanson, Massachusetts A dog and his guardian had to be rescued after falling into an icy pond. 1
3/2/2021 Jefferson, Wisconsin Firefighters rescued a 12-year-old girl and her dog after they fell into a partially frozen pond while on a walk. 1
2/28/2021 Sylvania, Ohio A dog had to be rescued by firefighters after falling into an icy pond. 1
2/27/2021 Hoopeston, Illinois Firefighters and local residents rescued a dog from an icy lake. 1
2/27/2021 Vigo County, Indiana Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy pond. 1
2/26/2021 Long Beach, New York A dog was rescued after being left inside a van during below-freezing temperatures. 1
2/26/2021 Columbus, Indiana Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake. 1
2/25/2021 Aurora, Indiana Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake. 1
2/24/2021 Pike Creek, Delaware Firefighters rescued a dog trapped on a partially frozen pond. 1
2/24/2021 Lee’s Summit, Missouri Firefighters rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice on Raintree Lake. 1
2/24/2021 Wilmington, Delaware Police and firefighters rescued a dog who was stranded on a frozen pond. 1
2/24/2021 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada After a 2-year-old cat was found frozen on a porch, her leg and tail had to be amputated. 1
2/23/2021 Glen Carbon, Illinois A 17-year-old boy’s neighbor rescued the boy’s dog after the animal fell into a partially frozen lake. 1
2/23/2021 Edmonton, Alberta Firefighters rescued a dog from a partially frozen pond. 1
2/23/2021 Parker, Colorado Firefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake at Salisbury Equestrian Park. 1
2/23/2021 Tonawanda, New York A dog and his two guardians had to be rescued after falling into a frozen creek. 1
2/23/2021 San Antonio, Texas Animal Services rescued about 200 animals during the week of winter weather. 200
2/22/2021 Mapaville, Missouri Two fire departments worked together to rescue a dog who had fallen into a thawing icy pond. 1
2/22/2021 Marshall, Arkansas A dog had to be rescued by police, other first responders, and neighbors after falling into a partially frozen pond. 1
2/22/2021 Madison, Wisconsin Firefighters rescued a woman and her dog after they fell through the ice on Lake Monona. 1
2/22/2021 Olive Branch, Mississippi A dog and the dogs guardian has to be rescued after falling into a frozen pond. 1
2/22/2021 Clinton, British Columbia, Canada A dog was rescued after being lost for 17 days outside during one of the seasons worst cold snaps. 1
2/22/2021 Shelby County, Tennessee Firefighters 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
2/22/2021 Hot Springs, Arkansas A dog and his guardian had to be rescued after falling into an icy pond. 1
2/21/2021 Robeson County, North Carolina A dog had to be rescued after being left chained outside in standing, freezing-cold floodwater. 1
2/20/2021 Montgomery, Alabama Montgomery 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
2/20/2021 Woodhaven, Michigan A dog was stuck on the frozen Detroit River for four days and was rescued by a good Samaritan. 1
2/19/2021 Murfreesboro, Tennessee A dog had to be rescued after falling into a frozen pool. 1
2/19/2021 Houston, Texas An elderly Labrador was rescued after being left outside in freezing temperatures. 1
2/18/2021 Franklin County, Ohio A dog suffering from a BB shot to the head was abandoned inside a cage in a snowy parking lot. 1
2/18/2021 Houston, Texas A dog was rescued after being left outside in freezing temperatures. 1
2/18/2021 Harvey County, Kansas A cat was rescued after being abandoned in the cold. 1
2/18/2021 San Antonio, Texas A woman found a dog wandering around outside during frigid temperatures and used tortillas to lure him into her car. 1
2/18/2021 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada A dog was rescued after being found outside in freezing temperatures. He was suffering from frostbite on his ears and tail. 1
2/17/2021 Franklin, Tennessee A man jumped into a partially frozen pond to save his dog, who had fallen in. 1
2/17/2021 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania A dog had to be rescued by police officers after being left on a balcony while it was snowing. 1
2/16/2021 Toronto, Ontario A dog had to be rescued from an icy pond. 1
2/16/2021 Harris County, Texas Eight dogs and a pig were rescued from a property after being left outside in freezing temperatures. 9
2/15/2021 Southlake, Texas A dog playing in the snow in his backyard wandered onto a partially frozen pool and fell in. His guardian rescued him. 1
2/15/2021 Youngstown, Ohio One 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
2/15/2021 Bellmead, Texas Two puppies had to be rescued after being left in a dumpster during single-digit temperatures. 2
2/15/2021 Houston, Texas Eight dogs had to be rescued after being left outside in freezing temperatures. They were all malnourished, and one had a broken jaw. 8
2/15/2021 Houston, Texas One dog died and five others had to be rescued after being left outside an auto body shop in subzero temperatures. 1
2/15/2021 Princeton, Minnesota A cat had to be rescued after being found outside in freezing temperatures and suffering from frostbite. 1
2/14/2021 Albuquerque, New Mexico A 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
2/14/2021 Oxford, Mississippi A puppy had to be rescued from a frozen lake after falling through the ice while fetching a stick. 1
2/14/2021 Hot Springs, Arkansas A man and his dog had to be rescued by police after falling into a frozen pond. 1
2/14/2021 Southlake, Texas A dog had to be rescued by his guardian and a police officer after falling into an icy pond. 1
2/14/2021 Cedar Springs, Michigan A woman found a cat nearly frozen to one of the tires on her car. The animal is recovering. 1
2/14/2021 Grapeland, Texas Four horses and four dogs were rescued from a property after being left outside in subzero temperatures. Officials found one dog dead. 8
2/13/2021 Frankfort, Kentucky Nine puppies were abandoned outside an animal shelter after hours in freezing temperatures. Five of them died. 4
2/12/2021 Houston Texas Harris 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
2/8/2021 Wichita, Kansas Firefighters rescued a dog trapped on a partially frozen pond. 1
2/8/2021 Omaha, Nebraska A cat was rescued after getting stuck in a chain-link fence in the snow. 1
2/8/2021 Topeka, Kansas Three fire departments worked together to rescue a dog who had fallen into an icy river. 1
2/8/2021 St. Louis, Missouri A 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
2/7/2021 Escondido, California A dog had to be rescued after being tied to a pole and abandoned in a park. 1
1/28/2021 Omaha, Nebraska Rescue crews had to save a dog and the dog’s two guardians after they fell into an icy pond. 1
1/27/2021 Mansfield, Ohio A 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
1/24/2021 Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada A couple rescued a cat who was living outside in the cold and suffering from frostbite. 1
1/24/2021 Branford, Connecticut A 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
1/20/2021 New York, New York A dog was rescued by police officers after falling into the icy Jamaica Bay. 1
1/17/2021 Cairo, New York A 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
1/13/2021 Catawissa, Pennsylvania A 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
1/12/2021 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Seven puppies were rescued after being left outside in the cold. Their mother didn’t survive. 7
1/8/2021 Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania A dog was tied to a pole and abandoned outside an animal shelter during 24-degree weather. He was discovered and rescued. 1
1/7/2021 San Antonio, Texas A 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
1/3/2021 Burlington, Vermont A 10-year-old Great Dane was found abandoned on the side of the road in freezing temperatures. 1
1/3/2021 Québec, Canada A woman took in a cat who was suffering from frostbite, worms, and rotten teeth after being abandoned outdoors in the cold. 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