For Immediate Release:
December 15, 2020
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – As a winter storm warning is affecting areas in Maryland including Cumberland and Hagerstown because of Winter Storm Gail, PETA is offering 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.)
The following steps can go a long way in helping animals survive Winter Storm Gail and 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.