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January weather prompts cruelty calls

Clark County Humane Society has had up to 20 calls a day about potential problems.

During the month of January as temperatures dipped below the freezing mark, the Clark County Humane Society has responded to as many as 20 calls a day concerning animals being left out in the cold.

“A lot of cruelty calls: dogs, horse, cats,” said James Straley, executive director of the humane society. “It’s them being left outside without food or water or shelter, and they’re worried that (they’re) going to freeze to death.”

By Ohio law, it’s not illegal to leave an animal outside so long as it has access to food, unfrozen water and shelter. If the animals choose not to take advantage of those amenities, there’s nothing the humane society can do, Straley said.

No animals have been seized due to being left outside in the elements, but Straley said they have been educating a lot of pet owners on how to properly care for animals.

“Just put some straw in the shelter to try to keep it insulated,” he said. “And if you have to change the water six times a day from freezing, that’s what you have to do.”

Sandy Hartman of Tremont City said she owned a dog who never wanted to be inside. She always made sure he had enough food and fresh water and extra straw inside the dog house if it was cold.

“If you neglect them and just leave them out there with nothing, that’s just wrong,” she said. “If you can’t be responsible, you shouldn’t have (a pet).”

While it’s not against the law to leave an animal outside, Straley said winter conditions are often too harsh for pets, and they should be let inside a home or barn whenever possible.

“Fur does not mean that they’re OK,” he said.

Owners that can’t care for their animals can always voluntarily surrender them to the humane society. Staff check every animal cruelty complaint, Straley said, noting the January calls have been well above the normal.

To report an issue with an animal, call 937-399-2917.

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