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Keeping pets safe in winter

By IVY KELLER • Dec 24, 2016 at 10:00 PM

Last week, a Bellevue resident called the police to report a dog outdoors. It had been barking most of the day, he said, and he was concerned because of the cold.

The temperature reached a low of 6 degrees that day, and a high of 14. Bellevue police spoke with the dog’s owner and gave him a warning. He told them he would bring the dog inside, according to the report.

Dogs are often left chained outdoors during winter, although the Humane Society of the United States recommends that pets not be left outside when the temperature drops.

Recently, Ohio even passed a law this year which makes it a crime to harm pets.

Since House Bill 60, better known as “Goddard’s Law,” was signed by Gov. Kasich in June, it is a felony to abuse or neglect a companion animal. The fifth-degree felony can carry a prison term between six and 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2,500. The law includes passages which prohibit leaving companion animals outside without food or an adequate shelter.

Although they have fur, pets like dogs and cats can still get frostbite and hypothermia. They can also be affected by the salt and other chemicals used to melt ice on sidewalks if they are taken for walks.

The Humane Society recommends dog owners make sure their furry friends have a dry, insulated shelter. Water and food left outdoors should also be checked periodically to make sure it hasn’t frozen over. Metal water bowls should be avoided, as a pet’s tongue could freeze to them.

The Humane Society also recommends that cats are not left outside at all.

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