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Deep Freeze Has Animal Control Officers Scrambling

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – Animal control officers have been receiving record numbers of people reporting pets being left outside in the cold.

Negligence can cost pet owners a lot — even jail time.

There are all sorts of products to keep pets warm but veterinarians say use some common sense.

Dogs frolicking outside for a limited period of time is fine, but animal control officer Jason Swift has been making welfare checks on animals left outside for extended periods. He has a stack of costly citations to hand out when he finds the pets’ owners.

“We look at the animal, see if he’s outside, tell the people … ‘It’s pretty cold, you don’t want to be out there,’ ” Swift said.

The fine for neglect or abuse of an animal can reach $999 and up to one year in jail. If the animal is impounded the owner must pay a $45 impound fee and a $9 per day boarding fee.

A word of caution about all the fashionable canine clothes – they can be cute but not necessarily substantial enough to keep them warm in current temperatures.

“They’re probably more of a fashion statement than actually a large benefit,” veterinarian Dr. Mac Griffin said.

Griffin says in all his decades in practice he’s seen few if any dogs with frostbite.

“It’s really rather rare. Can it happen? Absolutely,” he said.

Still, there are products that may at the very least make a pooch look appropriately attired for winter.

Vets say cats are more susceptible to weather-related health problems in the bitter cold.

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