Leave your pet out in the cold and you could get fined

By Heather Butterworth - Digital Content Producer

BEDFORD, Va. - If you leave your pet out in these frigid temperatures, you could get fined. 

The Bedford Police Department is warning pet owners that they could be summonsed if they leave their animals outside. Animal Control is following up on complaints and those calls will be taken on a case-by-case basis. 

After posting on Facebook, the police department noted that many people were upset. They clarified that they have received complaints about domestic animals being left out in the cold. Short-haired pets left without sufficient housing and warmth are the main concern.

The police department went on to lament that when they don't check on these animals, they get complaints about not doing their jobs, and when they do, they get complaints that they are being too sensitive. 

Leaving pets outdoors without proper shelter to protect them is a crime in Virginia. Depending on the circumstances, violators could be charged with animal cruelty.

The deputy animal control officer in Montgomery County says with the upcoming snow they've been busy with requests to check on animals left out in the cold. The office says they're doing what they can to respond to every call and check on the animals while educating people on cold weather tips for pets.

"If you have to leave them out, the shelter, the water and making sure they are well fed because that food helps them stay warm. We do worry about the thinner dogs and tell people to do everything you can to insulated that shelter," said Lori Charett, Deputy Animal Control Officer For Montgomery County. 

She also suggests putting a jacket, sweater and booties on your dog when outside. Remember, if you're cold, they're cold.

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