Owners could be cited if pets left outside without shelter in freezing temperatures

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Eau Claire (WQOW) – Freezing temperatures can be dangerous to our health, but not just ours, our pets too. Leaving your pet outside in sub-zero temperatures can come with consequences.

Leaving animals out in the cold, especially without a good shelter, food or water, can be dangerous, if not deadly. Eau Claire Senior Community Service Officer Shoua Vue said dispatch received two calls just his week, regarding animals left outside for long periods of time.

When a call comes in, Vue said the first thing his team does is check the health of the animal, because animals too can experience hypothermia, despite having a fur coat. Then officers look to their owners.

“We are out there to educate people,” Vue said. “So, for example, if we’ve been there before, like we say ‘Hey, this is an ongoing issue,’ then we do what they call almost like an abatement order, we check up on the animal to make sure that the animal is being properly taken care of.”

Vue said the department follows Eau Claire County guidelines when it comes to the animal’s shelter, which is a must. The care of animals ordinance states the shelter should be at least three inches off the ground, and insulated on the sides and top at lease one inch.

Owners can be cited $213.10 for not following guidelines. Vue said they can remove the animal if they believe the animal needs medical attention. In extreme cases, an arrest can be made for a felony mistreatment if the animal dies.

Vue said in his five years at the station, there were no reports of an animal that had died from freezing temperatures.

Shannon Hoyt

Shannon Hoyt

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