GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Guilford County Animal Control is alerting pet owners to be careful with leaving your animal outside as it gets colder.
As temperatures drop, Animal Control Manager Scott Greene advises keeping your animals inside if possible.
"We want to make sure the animals have a warm,dry place to stay if they're staying outside. If they aren't used to being out, they need to come in."
Animal control responds to over one thousand welfare checks every year; many of those calls are from people concerned about pets left in the cold.
"Each year, we have animals that freeze to death," pointed out Greene.
Greensboro dog owner Phillip Ward said, "That's animal cruelty to me. You shouldn't have a pet if you don't want to take care of them. They should be as warm as you are!"
Greene added, "The ordinance says if the animal is outside, it needs to have a dog house or a proper enclosure."
And, Greene explained, a proper enclosure is not just a cage. It's definited as a structure with three sides, a floor and a waterproof roof.
If animals are considered at risk for frostbite or death, officers could seize them and take them to the county shelter.
"But pets don't want to be here at the shelter," insisted Marsha Williams, Director of the Guilford County Animal Shelter.
"They want to be home with their family, who loves them."
They said even a garage or bathroom is better shelter than leaving your pet outside.
If you are concerned about a pet left in cold conditions, contact Guilford County Animal Control at 336-641-5990.
For after hours emergencies, call 9-1-1. There is an on-call Animal Control Officer for emergencies.
If you do not have a dog house and would like to get one, contact Guilford County Animal Shelter, they can provide dog houses for a donation (336) 297-5020.