Winter Storm Toby is not only a threat to humans in Fairfax County. Animals can also suffer from deadly frostbite and exposure, become dehydrated when water sources ice over, and die. In just the past three months, there have been at least 50 cold weather–related animal deaths, according to PETA.
These are some of the numerous dog deaths across the U.S. that have been reported:
· While responding to a complaint in Butler County, Ohio, the local dog warden found a German shepherd dead inside his doghouse. Although there were four bales of straw on the owners’ front porch, they hadn’t put any straw bedding in the doghouse.
· In Hartford, Connecticut, officers responding to a complaint from a concerned neighbor found a chained pit bull mix who had died of hypothermia. He was also found inside his doghouse.
· In Lynchburg, Virginia, an animal control officer performing a welfare check found a chained dog who had frozen to death inside his doghouse.
Animal welfare advocates say you should keep animals indoors. Freezing temperatures spell extra hardship for “backyard dogs,” who often go without adequate food, water, shelter, or veterinary care. If you see animals left outside without shelter from the elements and are unable to help, note their location and alert authorities immediately.
In cold weather, you can provide birds and other animals with access to water by filling a heavy nonmetal water bowl (tongues can freeze to metal) and breaking the surface ice twice a day. When weather improves, be sure to remove any food offerings to encourage animals to move on to warmer areas.
PETA offers these tips for keeping animals safe in cold weather.