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Is it illegal to leave your pet outside in the cold weather?

(KIFI/KIDK) — People have heard stories before about the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars, but what about leaving pets outside in freezing temperatures?

“So in the summer it is not safe to leave your dogs in the car when it is too hot, it is the same for winter,” said Dr. Jessie Ingvalson from the Pocatello Community Animal Hospital.

According to the Chubbuck Police Department, there is not a specific law saying you cannot leave your animals outside. However, if an animal is in imminent danger, officers will step in and the owner could be charged for crimes related to animal neglect or animal abuse.

There are still dangers of leaving your pet outside, like hypothermia and frost bite. And frostbite is something the Pocatello Community Animal hospital is familiar with.

“Almost half of the [cats] ear was dead from the frostbite and a lot of people do not realize how vulnerable ears, toes are to frost bite and hypothermia,” said Cheyanne Curry-Hendrix, a worker at the Community Animal Hospital.

Thankfully, cold weather is not always dangerous to your pets. The Chubbuck Police Department and the Community Animal Hospital agreed, some animals are more prepared for cold weather than others.

“For example, a Chihuahua that does not have a lot of fat stored is smaller and more susceptible to cold temperatures, verses if you have a Husky, larger dog with more fur that is a little more used to the cold,” Dr. Ingvalson.

The staff at the Community Animal Hospital said to check your animals paws and ears for possible signs of frostbite if they have been outside.

While there might not be any specific laws preventing people from leaving their pets outside in cold temperatures, the Chubbuck Police Department said they take animal safety very seriously. When someone notifies them about a possible animal abuse situation, animal control or officers will check on the reported animal to make sure the animal is being cared for and not neglected.

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