EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - If you've been outside, you felt the cold first hand.
This time of year, Animal Care and Control gets more calls than any other time of year, from people asking them to check on animals left out in the cold.
They not only look out for the well-being of animals but they provide a lot of education to pet owners.
Many may not know this but Indiana law requires your pet to be provided with insulated shelter, like a dog house, with proper bedding anytime they're outside. This is especially important right now, while the temperatures are so cold.
"Animals don't have a voice. They can't tell you if something is going wrong or right," says Evansville Animal Care and Control Officer, Anthony McKnight.
Luckily the welfare checks we went on Thursday, the pets turned out to be OK. However, that's not always the case. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia.
Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies, are more tolerant of cold weather; but all pets need proper sheltering if they're going to be left outside for any length of time.
"It's really sad to see dogs that are left out in these of conditions. I think that it's hurtful to anyone to see that. We all want our pets to be inside the house and sleeping in bed with us at night or curled up next to the fireplace. Unfortunately, that's not the reality for a lot of those dogs out there," says Evansville Animal Care and Control Superintendent, Alisa Webster.
"It hits home. I've got two dogs of my own at home. I love them and treat them just like family. you're looking at an animal that has feeling and you want to treat them the best you can," says McKnight.
A lot of welfare checks they go on are needed because many just don't know the law.
So, Animal Control does a lot of educating to pet owners.
"It's gone very well. Sometimes our officers will carry straw and things in the truck so they can educate the person. And help them out providing the provisions needed for the dog," says Webster.
If your pet is going to be outside for any length of time, along with food and fresh water, you need to make sure they do have shelter, such as a dog house. They also need bedding like straw or wood chips. Blankets are not ok because they can actually freeze and not serve their purpose.
You can find more information here.