Bring your dog inside.
That’s the plea from BC SPCA cruelty investigators after responding to dozens of calls across the province about dogs left outside in record-breaking frigid temperatures.
“It’s absolutely preposterous to leave a dog – particularly a short-haired breed like a pit bull – outside in this weather,” says senior animal protection officer Eileen Drever.
Drever says dogs who do not have adequate shelter can succumb to frostbite and hypothermia, and even die.
“For the love of your pet, don’t leave him outside in this weather,” Drever pleads.
Owners are required under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to provide their pets with adequate food, water and shelter. Marcie Moriarty, the BC SPCA’s general manager of cruelty investigations, says the society has already seized dogs this week who were being kept outside without proper shelter.
“People tend to think that because a dog has fur, or is used to living outside, he’ll be OK, but that’s a fatal assumption and it could cost your dog his life.”
One of the most tragic cases in recent memory involved a cruelty investigation in Prince George where three dogs were being kept outside in sub-zero temperatures. Investigators arrived to find one of the dogs already dead in his outdoor kennel. A second dog was found huddled in a barren dog house suffering from a bladder infection because she wouldn’t leave the dog house to urinate.
Drever recalls another case in Maple Ridge a few years ago in which a Dalmatian that was kept outside froze to the ground and couldn’t get up.
“These cases were so tragic and so preventable,” says Drever.
The BC SPCA opposes keeping dogs exclusively outdoors, and last year launched a campaign called “Break the Chains of Suffering” aimed at educating guardians about back yard dogs. Dogs who are kept outside all the time – no matter what the weather – can suffer physical and psychological harm.
“At the very minimum under the law, you must make sure your dog has adequate food, water and shelter,” says Drever. “His dog house must be elevated, he should have straw bedding to keep his body temperature up, the door should have a flap to keep the wind out and he should have food and water.”
Drever adds that farm animals are also susceptible to the weather and should be brought into the barn when the temperature drops.
Animals expend more energy in cold weather so it’s also a good idea to increase the food they are given.
The BC SPCA Heroes Fund for Animal Protection supports the life-saving work of our animal protection officers and special provincial constables. Your gift can help rescue animals just like these dogs and bring them in from the cold this winter. Please donate today.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.