Are laws designed to protect dogs from winter weather too lenient?

We looked into why some were allowed to keep their pets out in the cold by law enforcement and animal control.

In the last few days, temperatures have dipped down to below freezing. While most of us are easily able to find somewhere warm to go, our four-legged friends aren't always so lucky.

Neighbors said they have called animal control and law enforcement about dogs being left out in the frigid weather, but nothing is being done. Some said it may not be the officers, but the laws that are to blame.

"They had just a wire crate for him to get in with a sheet covering it. Just covering the crate,” Kelley Prichard told us Wednesday.

She is one of many people in central Arkansas who reached out to us after finding dogs left out in the cold. Prichard offered to buy a dog from its owners after it was left outside for several hours in Pulaski County.

"According to animal control, they were within the law," Prichard said. "They were providing a shelter, food and water for the dog. However, the shelter is not adequate."

Pulaski County Animal Control has been called to the home multiple times. In the reports from their visits, they note no laws are being broken.

According to the law, it requires pets be provided food, water and adequate shelter. However what is considered to be "adequate" is not defined, meaning animal control officers and deputies are the ones making the call.

"Something needs to be done,” Prichard said. “According to the law, that little shelter they had set out for the dog was enough and it's just not. We need stronger laws for these pets out here."

Dr. Bob Hale with the Briarwood Animal Clinic told us what is considered to be adequate shelter for pets when it's this cold.

"Some of these igloos that you can buy at Target and Walmart. I think they run anywhere from $30 to $40 last a lifetime, easy to maintain, easy to clean. You might have to add a plastic door to the front. But it's not real expensive to take care of your dog and protect them from the weather,” he said.

It is worth noting that we've gotten at least a half-dozen similar complaints from across central Arkansas, but the neighbors were too afraid of retaliation to go on camera.

Prichard and others are strongly considering contacting state legislators and county quorum court members to have the laws more strongly defined.

© 2018 KTHV-TV


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