We have all seen those heart-rendering commercials on television, asking for donations to save animals at risk.  The images are graphic and horrendous. Animal cruelty can occur anywhere.

Arctic cold is here.

Boxer puppy dog wearing blue scarf and gilet clothing with fur sitting on snow. Winter in downtown city park, selective focus, toned.

As hard as it is on humans, it can be deadly for our pets. That's why Texas law has made it illegal for pet owners to leave their animals outside in extreme weather, including temperatures below 32 degrees.

The Law is the "Safe Outdoors Dogs Act, " which went into effect last January 18th. The law requires the animals be provided with an "Adequate Shelter".  This is defined as:

“Adequate shelter” means a sturdy structure: (A) that provides the dog protection from
inclement weather; and (B) with dimensions that allow the dog while in
the shelter to stand erect, sit, turn around, and lie down in a
normal position.

A lot of pet owners assume that their pets can withstand the cold weather with the aid of their thick coats. This is not true according to the SPCA of Texas. Indoor dogs shed their undercoats and should never be made to stay outside for extended periods of time.

Photo by Janosch Diggelmann on Unsplash
Photo by Janosch Diggelmann on Unsplash

The law also states that an owner may not restrain a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that: is a chain, has weights attached, is shorter than the greater of five times the length of the dog, as measured from the tip of a dog's nose to the base of a dog's tail; or 10 feet: or is attached to a collar or harness not properly fitted.

On top of that salt, antifreeze and other chemicals can hurt your pets if they ingest them while licking their paws. It is also essential to never leave any pet in a cold car in the winter. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter and hold in the cold freezing a pet to death.

What should you do, if you see a pet left in the cold or other extreme conditions without food, or shelter?  You should contact your local law enforcement or animal control agency.  For non-emergency situations, complaints can also be filed online through the SPCA of Texas here:

Report Animal Cruelty


There are few words for people who harm innocent animals, especially animals that are our "pets".  Some of the worst criminals start out by abusing animals.  It is a sign of deep mental issues.  For others, their animal cruelty is based on a lack of understanding.

We should endeavor to take care of each other and the wonderful pets we have the privilege to care for and love.

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