Taking caution with pets during the extreme cold

"If you're cold, they're cold,” explains humane agent Elysse Rathbone, regarding animals outdoors during the colder months. (WSYX/WTTE)

Temperatures Thursday evening were in the teens and single digits. Despite the cold, some people still walked their dogs.

Luke Westerman wasn’t one of them.

"We felt it was just too cold, so we played inside."

But what about longer exposure to the conditions?

"If you're cold, they're cold,” explains humane agent Elysse Rathbone.

It's a simple rule not every pet owner follows. Humane agents at the Capital Area Humane Society say calls go up as temperatures drop.

"I would say the vast majority of our calls, the owners are trying their bes, trying to do something,” said Rathbone.

But it's not enough and that's where education comes in.

"One common mistake that people make is putting towels or blankets down and those actually get wet from the snow and they freeze."

Another common problem this time of year is frozen water bowls. Rathbone says animals must have access to water at all times. She adds current law doesn't have an exact temperature for when animals can't be outside. Something animals advocates like Westerman want changed.

"It's absolutely heartbreaking. There are a lot of states in the country that have laws making it illegal for animals to be outside at all in weather under certain temperatures so I'd love to see Ohio adopt laws like that."

"It's always our goal that every pet has a couch to sleep on at night, but in the event that can't happen, try to give it the best possible outcome,” said Rathbone.

The humane agent adds pet owners need to consider the type of animal they have.

People who feel an animal is being neglected can call (614) 777-7387 ext. 250 or report cruelty online at the Humane Society's website.

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