An Oklahoma state lawmaker filed a bill which would require people to bring their pets inside when there’s severe weather.
With freezing temperatures in the state, some organizations said these conditions can be dangerous to many animals.
“We know that humans will get frost bite in weather like this. Think about a dog," said Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City.
Dollens filed House Bill 1580, outlining requirements for dogs and several other animals being left outside in extreme weather conditions. Those guidelines include clean water and safe bedding, as well as proper shelters.
“Unfortunately, there are still those out there who put their dogs in some really dangerous situations,” Dollens said.
Jon Gary, a superintendent with Oklahoma Animal Welfare, said during the winter, they average seven animal cruelty calls per day. They saw a spike with 44 calls on Monday.
“It’s a large spike for us and we put priority on the 'no shelter' calls that we get this time a year,” said Gary.
Gary said leaving your pet outside in these temperatures can be deadly.
“It’s important that people understand that their pets are at risk being out there and they need to be brought in,” Gary said.
Part of Dollens motivation to file this bill comes from hearing and seeing what some of these animals have been through.
“Those stories and experiences that people have shared with me have absolutely inspired this legislation,” Dollens said.
If this bill passes, the first violation is a $50 fine, the second is $200, and the third is $500, and the animal would be turned over to a local rescue.
Anyone who sees a pet outside in freezing conditions is asked to call an animal welfare organization. In Oklahoma City, one can call 405-297-3100.