Urgent: PETA Winter Weather Survival Tips for Animals; Free Bedding Offer

For Immediate Release:
January 18, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Columbus/Dayton, Ohio

As temperatures fall below freezing overnight around Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina, PETA offers tips about the dangers to animals, who can suffer from deadly frostbite and exposure become dehydrated when water sources ice over, and even die.

Most importantly, animals should be kept indoors. Freezing temperatures spell extreme hardship for the many “backyard dogs“—usually chained up—in these areas (photos available here). They often go without adequate food, water, shelter, or basic veterinary care. If you see 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.) You can call PETA at 757-622-7382 if it’s an emergency and no one else will respond. Anyone who leaves an animal outside to suffer in severe weather may be prosecuted.

Last winter, there were at least 50 cold weather–related animal deaths across the country—and these are just the ones that have been reported. Most are not. By sharing this information, you may save a life. Here are just a few of those cases:

  • While responding to a complaint in Butler County, Ohio, the local dog warden found a German shepherd dead inside his doghouse. Although there were four bales of straw on the owners’ front porch, they hadn’t put any straw bedding in the doghouse.
  • In Hartford, Connecticut, officers responding to a complaint from a concerned neighbor found a chained pit bull mix who had died of hypothermia. He was also found inside his doghouse.
  • In Lynchburg, Virginia, an animal control officer performing a welfare check found a chained dog who had frozen to death inside his doghouse.

While PETA strongly encourages everyone to keep their dogs and other animal companions indoors—especially at this time of year—in order to protect the health of dogs kept outside and ensure their well-being and safety, we do give away free straw for use as doghouse bedding, and it may be picked up at our headquarters at 501 Front St. in Norfolk. Anyone who has questions or needs help accessing straw can call PETA’s toll-free number at 1-800-566-9768.

In cold weather, you can also provide birds and other animals with access to water by filling a heavy nonmetal water bowl (tongues can freeze to metal) and breaking the surface ice twice a day. When weather improves, be sure to remove any food offerings to encourage animals to move on to warmer areas.

Please see PETA’s cold-weather public service announcement featuring Justin Theroux. For more information, visit PETA.org.

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