As temperatures plummet across the country, a puppy in Massachusetts serves as a harrowing reminder of the extra care and protection that must be given to pets during this frigid winter.
On the cold evening of Dec. 30, when temperatures dipped as low as 3 degrees Fahrenheit in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, the Dartmouth Police Department responded to a call regarding a puppy who had been left in a car in a mall parking lot.
According to a report released on the department's Facebook page, Dartmouth Police discovered that a young dog had been left in a parked vehicle for at least an hour. Responding officer Justin Amaral noted that the puppy was "shivering and rolled up in a ball" on the seat.
The puppy, who was seized by animal control and transported to a local veterinary hospital for evaluation, had "no adverse effects" to the incident and "was given a clear health status," Dartmouth Animal Control Officer Sandra Gosselin said.
The dog's owner has been charged with cruelty to animals. However, according to Massachusetts law, "With removal of a dog from a vehicle, the owner may retrieve the dog from the Animal Control department/shelter after paying any and all expenses incurred," Gosselin noted. "The puppy was retrieved by its owner and [the owner] will be summoned into court at the request of the Dartmouth Police Department with regards to a cruelty complaint filed by them."
Dr. Lori Bierbrier, medical director of the ASPCA’s Community Medicine Department, told petMD that extremely cold weather is very dangerous to pets. As she puts it, "If it’s too cold for you, then it is probably too cold for your pets."
No animal should be left outside in extreme weather, Bierbrier urged, as "dogs and cats can develop low body temperature (hypothermia), which can lead to death."
Unattended vehicles are no better for pets, Bierbrier said. "Cars can act like refrigerators and hold in cold, adding to the already stressful effects of low temperatures."
Image via Shutterstock
Read more: How Cold is Too Cold for Your Dog?