Centre Countians, the deep freeze is not over yet.
Although my office has a main purpose of protecting people, we also are advocates for animals.
In Pennsylvania, failure to provide adequate shelter for conditions, fresh water and food can to lead to charges of cruelty to animals — a summary offense that can lead to $300 in fines and up to 90 days in jail.
A second offense is a third-degree misdemeanor.
If you see animals that may be at risk after being left out in the cold for prolonged periods of time or that appear to have inadequate shelter for the temperature, contact local law enforcement.
Dogs get frostbite and hypothermia, too. They are not polar bears. If you have watched the news lately, you should realize police have been out making sure animals are properly taken care of during the extreme cold.
If you choose to keep your pet outdoors, you must provide adequate shelter, food, water and bedding to keep them dry and warm, even when the weather gets brutal.
What worked at 35 degrees no longer works at 10 degrees.
If you cannot make their outdoor provisions safe, they need to be brought inside until the danger passes. Dogs may have fur coats, but they are not immune to the cold any more than a person wearing a coat would be if he or she were to sit outside on the wet, frozen ground all day.
Here are guidelines for what constitutes adequate shelter, but please realize each situation is different and demands good judgment.
The shelter should be large enough that your pet can sit and stand but small enough so the pet’s body heat will be retained in the house. Consider insulating the roof.
Always be alert for signs of hypothermia such as shivering, lethargy, low heart rate and unresponsiveness.
Finally, dogs are highly social creatures. Consider spending more time with your outdoor pet or bringing it indoors.
Your pet is happiest when with you and your family.
Stacy Parks Miller is Centre County District Attorney.