LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -Dogs being left out in the cold, has been a hot topic all across the state since the beginning of this winter weather.
We spoke with Lawton Animal Welfare’s Superintendent Russell Anderson today about what you should or shouldn’t do if you think a dog is not being cared for.
According to Lawton City ordinance, the animal must have potable water and food. In freezing temperatures, you’ll have to check frequently that the water isn’t frozen. Also, any dog that is left outside for more than two hours, must have a shelter to seek refuge in. But what defines a shelter?
“Well it’s got three full sides, and then in the front it’s got the little door,” said Anderson. “And then you have to have some sort of plastic or some sort of thing that stops the wind from coming through there. And it’s gotta be big enough that the animal can stand up, turn around in. And yet small enough to where when the animal is in there, it retains that body heat of that animal.”
No matter where you’re located, if you think a dog doesn’t have access to all three of those necessities, Anderson says to call the non emergency dispatch number at (580) 581-3272, and they’ll send an officer out to do a welfare check.
“Don’t throw a doghouse over there, don’t throw over food and water,” said Anderson. “Call us, we’ll come out and we’ll take a look. If we go out there and you said there’s no food, no water. And we get there and there’s food and or water, I don’t know you gave it to them, or you know the people took care of ‘em. We have to go by the evidence that gets collected at the time that we get there.”
If you are the owner of a dog, and don’t have access to food, water or a shelter for your pet, he says to call them.
“We started a program called Roofs for Rover,” said Anderson. “So we have dog houses that people have donated, they no longer have the dog. We bring them down here, we sterilize them, and then we give them out to people that maybe can’t afford it. We’ll go out there and deliver a doghouse to their house, so that way that animal is at least safe and it’s there within the legal means.”
If your pet dies from animal neglect, you could be charged with a felony.
“We would much rather you reach out to law enforcement, surrender the dogs, whatever, than to let them freeze to death,” said Anderson. “That’s a harsh way to go, just dying and passing away in the cold with no one around you.”
In Lawton City limits, it is against the law to chain up a dog anytime. It’s not illegal in Comanche County. However, there is some new legislation at the state level proposed, aimed at changing that.