COLUMBIA, Mo. - Like people, animals can catch hypothermia or frostbite, and with central Missouri dropping to zero degrees, some may wonder or be concerned with the care of all animals this winter season.
Animals like dogs may be prone to being outside, but all dogs must have adequate shelters if they are outside.
In fact, the associate director with the Central Missouri Humane Society, Michelle Casey, recommends that all dogs, cats or any small animals come inside, and if the home is not an option, a heated garage or heated basement is better than the animals being out in this cold.
Most livestock animals can adapt to the winter days, but experts say dogs, cats and rabbits can easily get frostbite, freeze, get disoriented and even die.
According to Jefferson City's animal ordinance Section 5-15: Minimum Standards of Sanitation, Care, and Adequate Housing of Animals, "Cages are to be of material and construction that permit cleaning and sanitizing." The ordinance also reads, "The structure shall be suitable for the breed, age, condition, size, and type of dog."
Although Columbia does not have an ordinance, they do have an anti-tethering law that prohibits owners to have any dog tied up as a primary means of confinement.
Columbia Animal Control Officer Brandon Anderson said it's the law to have proper housing for dogs and if dog owners don't follow them, they might just find themselves facing an animal abuse charge on their records and usually it's charged as a misdemeanor with a hefty fine.
A dog house has to have three sides, a roof and a floor, so it cannot be touching the ground.
Casey tells ABC 17 News that having the right amount of padding and blankets for these animals will keep them warmer during the winter.
So far for 2017, Columbia/Boone County Animal Control has covered over 297 cruelty investigations toward all animals, and according to Anderson and Casey, there have not been any animal cruelty cases regarding animals being left neglected in the cold these past few days-- and they hope to keep it that way.