For Immediate Release:
February 18, 2021
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Charlottesville, Va. – As a winter storm warning is in effect for the Charlottesville area because of Winter Storm Viola, PETA is sharing tips for keeping animals safe. They are especially vulnerable in cold weather and winter storms, and there were at least 37 cold weather–related companion animal deaths in 2019. (Those are just the ones that were reported—most aren’t.) A glimpse of just some of the dogs PETA’s fieldworkers have found suffering in the cold this winter can be seen here.
The following steps can go a long way in helping animals survive throughout cold weather:
- Bring Them Indoors
Companion animals should always live indoors. “Backyard dogs” and “outdoor cats”—like those featured in Breaking the Chain, the new documentary produced by Oscar winner Anjelica Huston—often go without adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. They are no better equipped to survive freezing temperatures or extreme weather conditions than humans are, they suffer terribly from frostbite, and they can die of exposure.
- Gear Up
Coats will keep dogs comfortable in cold weather, 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.
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. Anyone who leaves animals outside to suffer in severe weather may be prosecuted.
PETA has released a cold-weather public service announcement. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.