• Claudine Wilkins

Cold Kills! If You're Cold, They're Cold!

Reports of pets suffering or dying from the cold weather are already coming in from our state of Georgia.

In the last two days, good samaritans have spent hours trying to get help for a 4 month old puppy, chained without supervision for over 48 hours, with no shelter, food or water.  Not only is it illegal to chain a dog unsupervised where this pup lives, he spent brutal nights shivering despite calls to authorities.

 Tonight it goes down to 28 degrees. Just what is adequate shelter?

In the city of Atlanta, adequate shelter means a protective covering for an animal that is of adequate size and provides adequate protection to maintain the animal in a state of good health, and that prevents pain, suffering, or significant risk to the animal's health.

Adequate shelter shall consist of a completely enclosed structure with four sides with a door opening, a constructed floor, and a roof.

It should also be clean, dry, and compatible with current weather conditions, in addition to age, size, species, and condition of the animal. The structure should be of sufficient size to allow the animal to stand, turn around, lie down, and go in and out of the structure comfortably.

To be adequate, some type of bedding that is quick drying, such as hay or pine straw, must be provided to maintain comfortable temperatures within the structure during times when the ambient, outside temperature is below freezing.

In addition, the structure shall include a heavy plastic or rubber flap to cover the door and/or window openings during the months of November through March.

From April through October, the structure shall either be shaded or moved out of direct sunlight.

If the shelter is made of wood, it shall be raised at least two inches off the ground to prevent seepage or rotting.

Examples of inadequate shelter include, but are not limited to, lean-tos, metal or plastic drums, boxes, abandoned vehicles, porches, decks, or material that does not provide sufficient protection from the elements.

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