Protecting your pets in the frigid temperatures

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's not only people who need to be careful in the cold, but it's also important to remember about pets too.

It's been a busy day for animal control responding to calls all over the city.

Frigid temperatures are too dangerous for humans so just imagine what it means for your pets.

Two Pit Bulls are now warm at the Animal Care and Control Team's Shelter in Philadelphia's Hunting Park section thanks to a teacher at Frankford High School, who found them running loose and cold.

Action News traveled Thursday with Animal Control officers Estefhany Davidson and Michael Hill around the city as they answered calls about animals left outside during this code blue.

In the case of the loose Pit Bulls, they went to the address on the dogs' collars and found the city's Licenses and Inspections Department had a notice on the door.

"We're going to take them back because in this situation it looks as though the owners don't have a place to keep the dogs other than outside and that's not acceptable so until they can prove they have a shelter then they're not going to be able to reclaim them," said Davidson.

In Kensington, a neighbor called ACCT concerned Max the Huskie was outside too long. And the officers spoke to the owner.

"He's this type of weather dog so he wants to be outside," said Max's owner, June Arce of Kensington.

"When it's a code blue it's not going to be the whole winter just when it's a code blue, he needs to be inside," added Davidson.

"I will bring him indoors. He won't be happy but it's not up to him if it's between him getting fined and him being unhappy in my garage he's going to have to wait out," said Arce.

Pennsylvania's relatively new Animal Cruelty Bill states animals cannot be tethered more than thirty minutes in temperatures below 32 degrees.

A dog or animal can be outside in adequate shelter where their body temperature is maintained and they are kept dry.

Some municipalities have stricter regulations.

In Philadelphia during a code blue ACCT can give owners who leave their dogs outside for more than 15 minutes a citation and fines up to $500.

ACCT officers went down alleys and knocked on doors answering complaint calls, a lot of what they do is educate the public on the laws.

ACCT works with the PSPCA's humane officers who specifically handle cruelty cases and often have more leeway to seize animals.

Philadelphia police also brought in dogs Thursday. It's a community effort.
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