Photos: Local Dogs Left Outdoors in Bone-Chilling Cold; PETA Pleads for Animals to Be Brought Inside

For Immediate Release:
January 21, 2024

Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

As temperatures hit dangerous lows across North Carolina this weekend, PETA’s fieldworkers have been out every day helping dogs left chained and/or penned outdoors. This weekend, the team has found dogs shivering, emaciated, unable to escape the freezing cold, and with their water bowls frozen over—and they’ve been pleading with owners to bring the animals inside to prevent frostbite, hypothermia, and even death. These photos show just some of the dogs PETA has been trying to help in northeastern North Carolina this weekend. PETA is calling on people to bring their animals inside, warning that it is cruel and criminal to leave dogs to die in the cold—and asking everyone to be on the lookout for animals in need.

PETA’s fieldworkers have visited dozens of dogs this weekend alone, including a pair of Yorkshire terriers kept in the freezing cold with filthy food and water bowls, and secured the relinquishment of a dog named Stella, who was found emaciated with painful pressure sores on her backside. Stella spent the night at PETA’s headquarters before heading to the Virginia Beach SPCA for a chance at adoption. When dogs’ owners refuse to relinquish animals or bring them inside, the team has done its best to move them out of the path of the blistering wind, refresh their water bowls and move them to covered ground, and provide insulating straw bedding to help keep the dogs dry and a little less miserable.

Two Yorkshire terriers and a dog named Cecilia were left outside despite freezing temperatures. Credit: PETA

Stella was found emaciated with pressure sores on her backside. Credit: PETA

“Dogs left outside when temperatures plummet suffer every moment in the cold and could easily die from exposure,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “This is a crisis for dogs in our area, and PETA urges everyone to keep them off chains and safe and warm indoors with the rest of the family, where they belong.”

Good Samaritans who see companion animals kept chained or penned outside 24/7 or without adequate shelter from the elements should note the animals’ exact location and alert local law-enforcement authorities immediately. If officers don’t respond, call PETA at 757-622-PETA. Anyone who leaves animals outside to suffer in severe weather may face criminal charges.

The following steps can go a long way toward helping animals survive cold weather.

  • Bring them indoors: Companion animals should always live indoors. Dogs who are kept chained up outside and “outdoor cats”—like those featured in Breaking the Chain, a documentary produced by Oscar winner Anjelica Huston—often go without adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. They’re no better equipped to survive freezing temperatures or other extreme weather conditions than humans are.
  • Gear up: Coats will keep dogs comfortable in cold weather (just be sure to remove wet jackets the moment dogs return home), secure harnesses can help prevent them from getting loose on walks, and booties will protect their sensitive paw pads from the frozen ground. Keep walks short in cold weather, especially for shorthaired dogs.
  • Don’t forget birds: During extreme winter weather, provide birds and other wild animals with access to an emergency water supply by filling a heavy nonmetal water bowl (tongues can freeze to metal) and breaking the surface ice at least twice a day.

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