For Immediate Release:
February 20, 2020
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – As a winter storm warning affects your area, animals––who can suffer from deadly frostbite and exposure, become dehydrated when water sources ice over, and die––are at risk. Last winter, there were at least 32 cold weather–related companion animal deaths—and these are just the ones that were reported. Most aren’t.
These are some of the companion animal deaths across North America that were reported last winter:
- A cat died from long-term complications of severe hypothermia a month after she was found by the side of a road in Essex, Ontario.
- In New Lebanon, New York, a dog froze to death in a metal crate after allegedly being left outside with no food or water in below-freezing temperatures.
- Responding to a complaint in Indianapolis, members of a local animal rights group discovered a dog dead inside an empty garage.
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 withstand 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.