Weather’s cooling down; make sure your pets are warm

The Mahoning County Dog Warden says if you leave your pet outside without proper food and shelter, you'll likely be cited

Winter is not only time for cold weather and snow, but it is also a time to be on the look out for dogs left outside in the elements.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Winter is not only time for cold weather and snow, but it is also a time to be on the look out for dogs left outside in the elements.

Mahoning County Dog Warden Dianne Fry said the pound gets calls about dogs being left outside for too long without the proper food and shelter, and sometimes they find them too late. She said her office doesn’t take these calls lightly — now, you could face a citation.

“We go out on every call and check out the situation,” Fry said. “We then make sure you have a licence, we make sure you have a current rabies vaccine, and if it seems to be a condition situation — that the dog isn’t being taken care of humanly or you are not adhering to the local tethering ordinances about housing your dog outside — then at the very minimum, you’re going to get a warning by us, and at this point, everyone is aware of these laws and local ordinances, so more than likely, you’re going to get a citation.”

It doesn’t matter what kind of dog you have, if you leave them outside, they need to have a proper shelter, food and water.

“If you’re going to house your dog outside, do it appropriately and make sure they have a lot of extra food, a lot of fresh water and things like a heated water bowl,” Fry said.

Even if you leave enough water outside, if temperatures drop below freezing, the water bowl will be frozen by the morning.

If you are to leave your dog outside, there are a few things you need to do.

First, place straw in the shelter to help the dog conserve body heat. Another good way to do this is to buy heating pads for the shelter at your local pet store or online.

If you do not have a license in Mahoning County, the license registration season start December 1 and runs until February 28.

Also, if you do not know if your dog is up-to-date on all of its vaccines, call your veterinarian to confirm and make sure he or she sends you the latest copy of vaccines for your personal records.

Cities’ ordinances are different, so make sure you call your local municipality to confirm if you are even allowed to leave your dog outside.

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