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Protecting your pet from freezing temps is the law

Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN SPCA
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN SPCA
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN SPCA
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN SPCA

PUBLIC SAFETY: The phrase “not fit for man nor beast” isn’t a cliche when the temperature dip into the single digits, say animal safety officers, urging citizens to do the right thing — and, at the same time, avoid being prosecuted for animal cruelty.


Investigators from the Bergen County SPCA have continued to rescue dogs left in the cold while pursuing complaints against their owners this winter. They provided the photos accompanying this article to illustrate.

With freezing temperatures expected to continue, they’re unfortunately expecting more cases.

“Animals are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia even if they have fur coats,” Bergen SPCA Deputy Chief Roni Wildoner told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “If you feel the cold, so do they.

“Young pets, old pets, and sick pets are especially susceptible to the cold,” Wildoner said. “Short-haired or smaller breeds should never be left outdoors for long periods in the cold.

“Pets require extracalories,unfrozen water and protection from wind, rain, snow and ice,” the deputy chief said.

An unheated shed or garage does not make a good shelter, she added.

“Leaving your pets outside without adequate shelter is against the law in New Jersey under the states Title IV animal cruelty laws,” Wildoner noted. “If proper shelter cannot be provided, owners must keep their pets indoors.”

She outlined several safety requirements:


• Proper shelter should be elevated off the ground, have adequate dry bedding and be large enough for the animal to turn around — but no so large that body heat is not retained. A flap in the front helps with wind and to keep the heat inside;

• Use heated water bowls to prevent dehydration and provide extra food for extra calories;

• Anti freeze is toxic and should be kept away from pets;

• Ice melts will cause blistering to dogs paws and foot pads.

“The Bergen County SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division will be responding to all calls concerning animals without proper shelter as the highest priority,” Wildoner said.

“If you see a pet outside without proper shelter, please do not hesitate to call the Bergen SPCA,” she added.  “Don’t assume someone else will say something.

To report animal cruelty or neglect in Bergen County, call the SPCA: (201) 573-8900


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