FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pet and Animal Safety During Cold Weather
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Cold weather presents challenges to those who have dogs, cats and other animals that spend time outdoors. Pets left outside during cold weather are susceptible to injury or death. So, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep your animals safe.
Morgantown City Code Section 505.03 and 505.031 state that it is illegal in city limits to tether your animal outside for more than 30 minutes if the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The animal should not be tethered outside for more than 30 minutes if the weather conditions outside would pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of your pet or service animal, based on the animal's size, age, physical condition, or thickness of the animal's hair or fur. The penalty for violating this ordinance is a $300 - $500 fine and/or jail time.
The Humane Society of the United States has provided tips to keep your pets safe and warm during the winter season:
- Keep pets sheltered: Keep your pets indoors with you and your family. Pet cats should never be left outdoors, even if they roam outside during warmer seasons. If your dog is outdoors majority of the day for any reason, they must be protected in a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough for them to move freely, but small enough to retain body heat.
- Bundle up, wipe down: No matter what the temperature is, the windchill can threaten a pet’s life. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during walks. To keep short-haired pets comfortable, it is recommended to provide them with a sweater or jacket when out for a walk. When returning from a walk, be sure to wipe down pet paws with a damp towel to remove potentially poisonous chemicals and irritants used to melt snow and ice.
- Protect outdoor animals: Be sure your livestock animals and horses have access to a barn or three-sided structure so they can escape from the wind and cold. Always give your animals access to unfrozen water and be sure to feed them more during extreme cold to allow them to create more heat to regulate their body temperature.
- Speak out: If you encounter a pet left in the cold, politely let the owner know you are concerned. If someone you raise concerns with responds poorly or continues to neglect their animals, please call the Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center at 304-291-7267.