Urgent Message From PETA: Cruel—and Criminal—to Leave Dogs in the Cold

For Immediate Release:
November 18, 2020

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – As temperatures are nearing freezing at night in your area, PETA would like to share that a new Virginia law prohibits leaving dogs tethered outside during storms and other weather extremes, including when the temperature is 32 degrees or below. Animals left outside can suffer from deadly frostbite and exposure, become dehydrated when water sources ice over, and die. There are dozens of cold weather–related companion animal deaths every year—and these are just the ones that are reported. Most aren’t.

Let your animal companions live indoors. Freezing temperatures spell extra hardship for “backyard dogs,” who often go without adequate food, water, shelter, or veterinary care. If you see companion animals left outside without shelter from the elements and are unable to help, note their location and alert authorities immediately. (For information regarding what constitutes adequate shelter, click here.)

Always use a secure harness when taking dogs on walks to help prevent them from getting loose and falling into icy waters, and make sure that their feet are protected from the cold ground with comfortable booties. Cats should always be kept indoors. They’re no better equipped to stand the cold than we are.

In extremely cold winter weather, you can provide birds and other animals with access to an emergency food supply and to water by filling a heavy nonmetal water bowl (tongues can freeze to metal) and breaking the surface ice twice a day.

Anyone who leaves their animal companions outside to suffer in severe weather may be prosecuted.

PETA has released a cold-weather PSA—featuring 2020 Super Bowl champ Tyrann Mathieu—and this animated PSA, both of which urge people to bring dogs inside from the cold. For more information, visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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