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Here's what you can do if you see a pet outside in dangerous weather

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Posted at 3:58 PM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-10 16:05:17-05

Local humane organizations have seen a spike in reports of animals in unsafe conditions due to dangerously cold temperatures.

Although they can’t give exact numbers, SPCA Cincinnati is seeing an influx of messages via email and Facebook about animals not being properly taken care of.

“The best thing to do is to report it because ultimately you don’t personally want to do something and be liable for some charges,” said Nyketta Gaffney, SPCA’s public information officer.

Then, SPCA will dispatch a warden or someone on the warden’s team from their Northside location to the site. If reported officials only have the right to remove the animal if a law is broken.

According to Ohio Revised Code, it’s illegal to deny an animal access to shelter from the cold, wind and precipitation, if its reasonably expected that animal would die or experience unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering as a result of the lack of adequate shelter.

Animals also need to have sufficient food, water and access to warmth, Gaffney said. “Of course, every law is left for interpretation,” Gaffney said. “If there’s not clear evidence, regular citizens or activists that just care about animals should not get themselves in situations that are dangerous or harmful. Or put themselves in a position to be charged.”

SPCA Cincinnati can be contacted via Facebook or at 513-541-6100 before 6 p.m. or 513-825-2280 after 6 p.m.

Peppermint Pig Animal Rescue took to Facebook last week, offering to aid animals and owners who need to get their pets out of the cold.

No one responded to the offer and Director Joyce Hutchenson isn’t sure why.

“(We thought) let’s put it out there and do whatever it takes, we will give it straw to help you, we’ll do whatever,” she explained. “We might get no calls or we might get 150.”

The lack of response is disappointing, but with a possible winter storm on the way, Peppermint Pig’s offer still stands.

“A bail of straw is not cheap,” she said. “We were willing to load up the Pig Mobile and stuff it with straw to get those dogs a little bit warmer. Nothing.”

The Anderson Township-based nonprofit will only offer aid if an owner of the animal contacts them. They can be reached via Facebook.