Animal advocates say if you're chilly, so is your pet
TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee signed RCW 16.52.350 into law this April.
Tri-Cities Animal Shelter and Control Director Angela Zilar said the law defining how long dog-owners can keep their animals chained up outside is more relevant now, with temperatures dipping below freezing.
She says the local laws are stricter than state laws when it comes to tethered animals,
"Ours says no matter what, chained or not, they have to have a shelter if it's more than 6 hours."
Zilar said six hours is still too long, and responsible pet owners should ask themselves if its fair for their four-legged friends to suffer through another winter like last year.
She said she hopes they'll realize the answer is no,
"They're in our homes, we have made them different than if they were a wild animal living in nature, understanding and having to acclimate to it. We have to do what's right for them by giving them the tools necessary to survive."
She said if your animal is too cold it's behavior will tell you.
Signs to watch for include prancing around or stepping funny, shaking and shivering, and ignoring playtime to cuddle and share body heat.
She said big dogs are just as susceptible to the cold,
“Their pads, which are flesh, can freeze to a surface just like you or I could. If my hand is wet and I go to grab a pole that’s frozen, will my hand stick? Yeah, it will. ”
Zilar said all pets need access to unfrozen water, which is important for maintaining body temperature.
Animals also need cover to keep them out of the wind, and something to burrow into like straw,
"The straw will help them maintain temperature and wick away the water, to a degree."
Zilar said to contact the Tri-City Animal Shelter if you see an animal being abused or neglected,
"There's nothing wrong with a welfare check, we respond to everything called in. Sometimes they're not warranted, and that's how they're documented. But we've run into a few that were, and without that we couldn't have educated the owner to help fix that problem."
Tri-City Animal Shelter and Control
- Where: 1312 S. 18th Ave., Pasco, Wash.
- When: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tues. through Sat.
- Phone: 509-545-3740