NHS sees increase in pets being left in the cold

Photo: Norlando Pobre / CC BY 2.0
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The Nebraska Humane Society said there's been a staggering rise in the number of calls about animals being left outside this winter.

The humane society has received 386 calls reporting dogs left outside so far this year. That's almost 100 more calls than last year at this time, and 50 percent more than in 2017.

"We've been completely filling out our log sheets and most of them have been gross neglect calls," Animal Control Officer Ruthie Pohl said. "This year has been the busiest winter I have seen for animals being left out without food, water and shelter."

NHS suspects the reason for the increase is the exceptionally cold and snowy winter.

"People don't get what shelter is. They think, oh, I have a tree. Or, my dog can get up against the house, or he can go under the deck. That's not sufficient," Pohl said.

Mark Langan is the Vice President of Field Operations at NHS. He said it's legal to let your dog out freely in the yard, but there has to be adequate shelter and water.

"In weather like this, adequate shelter really requires a wooden dog house, plenty of hay or straw, or a headed dog house and heated water bowls," Langan said.

He said a dog must also be fed at least once in a 24-hour period.

"I would just ask that everyone keep being more aware. Be aware of where your animals are, but also be aware of where your neighbors' animals are," Pohl said.

NHS also reminds pet owners to get their dogs licensed, as it can mean the difference between having to take a dog off the property or not if called to a home.