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Press Releases

Cold Weather Regulation and Care for Animals

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 21, 2018

During Hypothermia Alerts, the Montgomery County Police Animal Services Division enforces Executive Regulation 10-

10AM, Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs.

Section II-C of the regulation states that “a person must not tether a dog under circumstances that endanger its health, safety, or well-being including: unattended tethering of the dog during a weather emergency.” The enforcement of this regulation is put into effect during periods of high heat and humidity, and during conditions of extreme cold, wind, and heavy snow which can all be damaging to dogs and other animals. Dogs spending a period of time outdoors must have access to shelter to properly protect them from the elements, and must be brought inside during extreme cold and Hypothermia Alerts. The penalty for this violation is a $500 fine.

Montgomery County Police Animal Services officers want to remind citizens to be particularly careful with all pets during periods of record cold and winter storms.  The best advice during periods of extreme weather conditions is to bring your pets indoors. Even animals that are accustomed to living outdoors can be susceptible to the dangers of cold weather.  Livestock animals should have a place to get out of the wind; dry bedding should be provided to protect them from frostbite. 

ASD Officers will be on-call, patrolling neighborhoods and responding to any animal-related emergencies.  If you see an animal left outside that appears to be in danger, please call the Animal Services Division immediately at 301-279-8000.

Tips from veterinarians for cold weather care of a dog include:

  • Provide a heated bed and shelter for dogs which cannot come indoors
  • Avoid letting your dog eat snow – keep fresh room temperature water available at all times
  • Keep food and water in a place where it will not freeze – preferably inside
  • A dog’s ears and tail are susceptible to frostbite; check them after a dog has been outside for a long period of time
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol
  • A dog licking the salt off the bottom of his paws can make him sick, so wipe his paws after he walks through a salted area
  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather because a car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

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Release ID: 18-485
Media Contact: Lucille.Baur@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-773-5030