Pets need to be safe when left outside

April 7, 2018 GMT

“Life is a series of dogs.” - George Carlin

Although it snowed this week, we are technically in spring by two weeks now. Since temperatures will be warming up that means more outside activates for people and their pets. As pet owners, we need to be sure that our pets are safe when left outside alone.

No law states that your pet has to be an inside pet but it does need to be protected. Having fresh water for it to drink is the first step. The second step is to have an adequate shelter for it to go into. A proper shelter means that the animal can stand in it, free and clear, and turn around with no troubles.

This being said, no one can make an animal use the shelter. Animal Control receives many calls throughout the year complaining about a pet being left outside. Our first question is always, “Does it have a shelter?” In many of these cases we get a response like; “Yeah but it’s laying in the sun and won’t use the shelter.” Then there is nothing wrong.

Many people leave their pets outside 24/7, which is not illegal. Unfortunately, whether you like it or not pets are property. As long as the pet is provided water and shelter, it can be outside anytime of the year. Animal Control will respond to the calls when they are received however, people need to understand that it does not matter if we agree with it or not we will follow the letter of the law.

In recent years, we have received multiple complaints about various pets being outside in inclement weather. One complaint was because a dog was outside in a downpour. We investigate the call and found the dog laying in the mud right next to its doghouse. We saw no violation but talked to the owner anyways. It was simply that the dog loved playing in water and this rainstorm was a great opportunity for it to play in the water. Granted the owner had a muddy mess of a dog to clean up later but no laws were broken.

We have gotten complaints about Malamutes and Great Pyrenees dogs laying in the snow although they had shelters. Dogs like these are built for the cold weather. Animal Control will investigate all calls but the biggest problem is when the caller gets upset with us. People need to understand that we are following what the city ordinances say and largely what Nebraska Statutes say.

It gets bad when citizens take things into their own hands when they disagree with our findings in the situation. Animal Control takes all calls serious. If you feel there are wrongdoings, call Animal Control or the Columbus Police Department. Taking something into your own hands could get you in trouble. Animal Controls goal is to keep its citizens safe both its 2 legged and 4 legged alike. And in some rare cases its 3-legged.