Calls double for Columbus Humane agents as temperatures drop, new ordinance bans tethering

With freezing temperatures and a new anti-tethering law in effect, Columbus Humane Society agents are seeing a big increase in calls (WSYX/WTTE)<p>{/p}

The cold can be tough on animals, and now in the City of Columbus, it is illegal to tether your pets outside overnight or in extreme weather.

Columbus Humane agents were busy responding to calls Wednesday about dogs left outside in the bitter cold, some chained up. Humane agents said it could take just 20 or 30 minutes for the cold to start impacting your dog if it doesn't have any shelter.

"It could be deadly fatal for dogs outside," said Columbus Humane's Chief Humane Agent Kerry Manion.

Manion was busy responding to calls Wednesday.

"Typically our call volume doubles," said Manion.

Many callers were worried about dogs chained up, left out in the cold. ABC6/FOX28 drove along with Manion. First, he went to three different spots on the West side of Columbus. There he responded to a tip about a dog chained up outside to a dog home.

"If the dog was off the chain and the shelter would be adequate under the state and city code. Still it is heartbreaking to see a dog outside, it is 12 degrees right now," said Manion.

He was able to talk to someone inside the home.

"Mainly, right now, we are getting a lot of cold weather calls," he said.

Later on, he found two dogs chained up outside nearby, not able to take any shelter from the chill. Again, he was able to talk to the owner and get the dogs inside. He said since the ordinance is new, not all owners know about it yet.

"There is a lot of educating to do," he said.

The hope is that people will listen.

"It is never enough," said Manion, "the Humane Society ideally likes to see pets in the household, in the living room, curled up on the couch, but we have to work within the confines of the law."

Agents will do follow ups on some of the dogs they checked on Wednesday to ensure they are inside and being cared for. Columbus Humane said if you violate the ordinance, Columbus Humane said you could be charged with a first degree offense or a misdemeanor. Owners also can't use certain kinds of collars and chain tethers.

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