December 31, 2010
Protect Domestic Animals During Cold Weather
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Animal Protection of New Mexico would like to remind people that protecting domestic animals from freezing weather is the law.
New Mexico’s state cruelty law (NMSA 30-18-1) mandates that animals be provided with adequate shelter. Most local city and county animal ordinances contain provisions for shelter requirements to protect animals.
Companion animals, such as dogs and cats, should be allowed indoors as much as possible, especially during weather extremes like we’re experiencing now. When animals must be outside, here are a few tips to help ensure animals are protected and that laws are obeyed:
* A weatherproof shelter should be large enough to accommodate the animal, yet small enough to retain body heat.
* The shelter should be protected on all sides from the elements. It should have a door, and contain dry, insulating bedding such as straw.
* Animal housing also should be raised off of the ground a few inches, be shingled to keep out moisture, and be positioned so the doorway is out of the wind.
All animals left outdoors, including horses and livestock, should be provided with extra food during cold weather to help maintain overall health and body weight. Livestock should have a windbreak—it could save their lives. Clean water should be available continuously, and checked frequently to ensure it is not frozen.
APNM encourages people to work with local animal control departments to stockpile a few extra doghouses for those in need. Offering a weatherproof shelter and some clean straw to animals that must stay outside can help to make them comfortable, and may even save their lives.
Something as simple as bringing animals indoors can prevent serious injury or death. Providing for companion animals is not only the right thing to do, it is the law.
In Albuquerque, animals left outside in freezing temperatures may be reported anonymously to the city’s 311 line. Callers should provide the exact address for the animal. In other areas, call local animal control, or the Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force hotline: