Pet owner facing criminal charges after dog found dead in cold

Published: Feb. 8, 2014 at 5:13 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2014 at 11:30 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A Lubbock pet owner is now facing criminal charges after their dog was found dead in the cold.

Thursday morning, Animal Services employees found a pit bull frozen to death in central Lubbock. That night got down to a bone-chilling seven degrees.

"I just don't understand how someone can be so mean," said Rebecca White.

White was appalled when she found out a pit bull was left outside in this frigid weather.

"That's uncalled for. In my eyes, my pets are my family," White said.

Animal Services say they have responded to dozens of calls related to animals left out in the cold this winter.

On Friday alone they issued 25 citations related to poor animal care.

The city ordinance states "an owner may not leave a dog outside the case of extreme weather conditions," specifically below 32 degrees.

White, along with other animal lovers around the South Plains, just wants to bring awareness of the issue and hope it doesn't happen again.

"For someone to be mean to them that's just inhuman," White said.

"The only way that we're going to make a difference is to try and help educate people and make them realize that: one, this is against the law and you can be held liable for what you're doing," said Rachel Cass.

If you need to report an animal outside in freezing temperatures, call the Animal Shelter at 775-2057, or the Sheriff's Office at 775-1480 Both numbers are available 24-7.

Here's the full text of the city ordinance:

Sec. 821.077. UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT OF DOG. (a) An owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog's movement:

(1) between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.;

(2) within 500 feet of the premises of a school; or

(3) in the case of extreme weather conditions, including conditions in which:

(A) the actual or effective outdoor temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit;

(B) a heat advisory has been issued by a local or state authority or jurisdiction; or

(C) a hurricane, tropical storm, or tornado warning has been issued for the jurisdiction by the National Weather Service.

(b) In this section, a restraint unreasonably limits a dog's movement if the restraint:

(1) uses a collar that is pinch-type, prong-type, or choke-type or that is not properly fitted to the dog;

(2) is a length shorter than the greater of:

(A) five times the length of the dog, as measured from the tip of the dog's nose to the base of the dog's tail; or

(B) 10 feet;

(3) is in an unsafe condition; or

(4) causes injury to the dog.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 674, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Animal neglect is considered a misdemeanor crime in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

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