Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Investigators ask residents to report concerns over animals left in the cold

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Investigators ask residents to report concerns over animals left in the cold
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The recent frigid temperatures have convinced most people to stay inside. But there are pets who are forced to live outdoors all year long, despite the cold and snow. Even so, there may be little investigators can do. Our Candace Hopkins reports.

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Each winter, the CNY SPCA receives dozens of calls about animals left out in the cold. Most of them are dogs. Investigators will respond to evaluate the animal. But Executive Director Paul Morgan says sometimes, they are too late to save them.

"There's been situations where I've been to in the past where the animals have been frozen to the ground and didn't live," he said.

If the dog is injured or suffering, it can be taken away on the spot. But, when it comes to the law, without an injury, most of the time their options for intervention are limited. As long as your dog has access to shelter and water, you can leave it outside in any temperature.

"If you have a pit bull for instance, and you leave it outside, and it has a shelter around it, and we get over there, and it might be cold out, but the animal doesn't appear to be suffering or in any way disturbed by the weather, there's nothing we can do," said Morgan.

That can be frustrating for investigators, who say if you wouldn't want to be outside, your pet shouldn't be either.

"Look at yourself. You're inside your house, watching TV or whatever, it's warm, your dog's outside in the freezing cold. How would you like it if you switched the rules, common sense, that's my opinion, I think that's the best way to treat it," said Morgan.

But Morgan says people don't always use common sense, and when that happens, his staff will be there to advocate for animals.

The law also allows for some dogs to be left outside based on their breed, like Huskies, who enjoy the cold. But investigators say if you are concerned about an animal's well-being you should always report the situation.

Visit the CNY SPCA's website for more information at http://www.cnyspca.org/.

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