Authorities watching for animals left outside in cold too long

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PITTSBURGH - The frigid weather can be deadly to animals, and local authorities said they are keeping an eye out for any pets left out for an extended period of time.

The Animal Rescue League, located on Hamilton Avenue in Pittsburgh, extended its hours in case police needed to bring any dogs found in the frigid temps.

It is against the law not to provide proper shelter for animals in bad weather.

“I think for some people, they believe animals belong outside, even if it’s a pet. So I think there’s a lack of education there,” Mary Withrow, of the Animal Rescue League said.

Channel 11’s Jennifer Tomazic followed officers Tuesday as they filed animal cruelty charges against at least one dog owner who allowed his dogs to be outside too long.

“They have to go inside. If we see any of them outside, we’ll seize them on site,” Humane Officer Kathy Hecker said.

While following officers, Tomazic said she saw two dogs in a front yard, but the owner quickly brought them back inside.

“We have calls on the North Side, and a couple of them don’t sound good,” Hecker said.

Hecker reminded owners, a doghouse is only about 6 degrees warmer, which is still too cold for dogs right now.

“It’s very dangerous for their feet. They can get frostbite just by getting a little bit of salt mixed with slush, and then they have foot damage,” Hecker said.

If you see animals left out in the cold, call your local animal control office or police.