LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A new Lafayette animal care ordinance passed in December could fine a pet owner if their animal is left in the cold.
Animals must be brought inside when temps fall below 20 degrees or the owner will face a warning, a fine or possible removal of the pet from the property. Animal care experts say shelters need to be well ventilated and have resistant material like straw.
Experts also advise not to use blankets. When they get wet in the cold, they stay wet.
The operations manager at Almost Home Humane Society gave advice to pet owners who may leave their pet outside.
"This is doing something good," said Molly Baker. "If it's uncomfortable for you, it's uncomfortable for them. Some animals can take it. Some cannot. But at the temperatures they are going to be seeing very shortly, they must be brought inside," said Baker.
It may seem easy to use your best judgment, but Lafayette's animal control has set up the new ordinances to prevent this from happening.
"It's a lot of common sense stuff," said Chief Josh Klumpe. "If it's too cold out there...they're calling for negative 37 to 40 degrees wind chill, you are not going to be out there. Frost bite can set in quite quickly and that's with animals too," said Klumpe.
Baker offers her best tips after almost 10 years with the shelter.
"Maybe try snow shoes for dogs," said Baker. "I would definitely suggest very short potty breaks outside. Clearing snow from the area where they usually go potty is appropriate. Using salt that is pet safe is important as well," said Baker.
It's important to keep tabs on your pet and be cognizant of its surroundings.
"You make sure all your fences and everything are closed so they are not getting out and getting in this bad weather when they can't find their way home," said Klumpe. "Obviously keep a close eye because anything can happen," said Klumpe.