YAKIMA, Wash.- Some pets can't wait to dive into the snow, but other pets avoid it at all costs. No matter what kind of dog you have, City of Yakima Animal Control Officer Ben Zigan says their fur coats aren't always enough to keep them warm during freezing temps.
"If you're standing outside and you're cold even wearing a jacket, then chances are your dog is also cold. Especially if you have the smaller breeds or the shorter haired dogs," said Zigan.
City rules require every pet owner who leaves their animal outside to have a secured dog house that's big enough for the size of your dog, and protects them from wind and rain. They are also required to have food and water.
Zigan recommends if it gets under 32 degrees, to keep the dog house insulated with straw to regulate heat.
Henry Crumblish has had his dog Jax for two years and said during this time of year he only takes his dog outside to use the bathroom.
"I think most dogs this size should be indoors. I have a friend and her dog got injured because of the cold weather and her dog is in a cast," said Crumblish.
Zigan said bigger dogs with thick coats are a different story. Dogs like Husky's or Saint Bernard's can stand the cold better but Zigan says they still need the right protection when they are outside.
Zigan said in his 25 years of experience, he has never dealt with a dog that had frozen to death, but said leaving your dog out in the cold for too long can risk them getting joint pain, hypothermia, or other health problems.
"Some people maybe need a little bit more education. They don't think it through when they get a small dog and all of a sudden it's cold out," said Zigan.
Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor and be issued a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail.
If you find a pet that looks like it's being neglected, call 911 and ask for animal control. Or dial the the animal control hotline at 509-575-6038.