RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) -That Arctic wind chill you feel the moment you walk outside can be just as dangerous for your pets as it is for you.
A new law prohibits people from keeping their pets tethered up outside when it’s this cold out. It just went into effect statewide in July for when it gets above 85 or below 32 degrees.
With colder temperatures looming ahead, Radford’s Animal Control office is offering advice to protect your furry friends.
“Basically your dog needs to come inside when it’s cold,” said Animal Control Officer Stephanie Caldwell. “We don’t want them to get freezing. We want them to stay warm and cozy in your home.”
Animal Control wants you to get your animals inside now before they start showing warning signs of being cold. Things like curling up in a ball, not moving too much or feeling cold to the touch. Asphalt can be just as cold in the winter as it is hot in the summer, so if you are taking your pet outside you should stay in the grass.
“There’s a lot of breeds that have thicker hair and there are different circumstances, many of which Animal Control officers like myself have to make those decisions for what is safe and what is proper for shelter,” Caldwell said.
Acceptable outdoor shelters and dog breeds are at the officers’ discretion. They want to make sure your fur baby has a clean, safe and warm outside home if he or she lives there. If your pet is overexposed to the cold, Caldwell says it is important to warm your animals up with blankets before feeding or letting them drink water.
“We just want them to be safe and healthy, so we look for these things even on a day to day basis, not only in the winter, to make sure everything is proper for them,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell said officers are always willing to work with you to help you get the proper shelter for your pup.
“We understand that there are circumstances that not everyone can help and we’re here to help you with that, too.”
Animal Control says its main goal is education and not handing out fines. Usually all they have to do is ask people to take their pets inside. Repeat offenders could face a class one misdemeanor.
“We all hope that an owner would not want that for their animal,” Caldwell said. “And that’s why we’re here to make sure we educate the public to make sure they know it’s really important to follow these steps and guidelines because they’re there to help protect your animal.”
Caldwell said Animal Control asked two people Tuesday to take their pets indoors. She said no one has been charged in Radford related to this new law.
Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.