Outdoor pets need special care in winter

To the Editor:

As the weather has gotten extremely harsh, I am hearing about many animals in our area without access to shelter, unfrozen water, and other such basic necessities. Local law enforcement has responded, for the most part, to reports of these abuses. But unfortunately, Ohio Laws and local laws are too vague and too lenient regarding the care of dogs, cats and other animals. Law enforcement can, unfortunately, only enforce the law. For those who are unfamiliar, these are the Ohio Codes:

ORC 959.13A

No person shall:

• Torture an animal, deprive one of necessary sustenance, cruelly beat or impound an animal without supplying it a sufficient quantity of wholesome food and water.

• Confine an animal without affording it access to shelter from wind, rain, snow, or excessive direct sunlight.

• Carry or convey an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner.

• Keep animals in an enclosure without wholesome exercise and change of air.

This ordinance keeps things far too open to interpretation. There is absolutely NO humane reason that someone should be allowed to keep an animal of any type tethered and forced to endure our recent weather. And, in one of the cases I personally reported, a “nearby doghouse” that the dog cannot reach is unacceptable, especially when the dog is tied to a building in windchill below zero and blinding snow and ice! If you are a person reading this who keeps a “pet” outside in all weather conditions, please surrender your poor animal to a rescue who will care for it properly. And if you are someone who feels that it is time for Troy and Miami County to join the many Ohio cities and counties working to set a new standard for what is not only expected, but should be required, to have an animal in your care, please write to your county commissioners. Respectfully request that they reconsider what are at best, vague, and more to the point, inhumane laws regarding the animals who rely on us for their livelihood.

Commissioner contact information can be found at the following link: http://www.co.miami.oh.us/Index.aspx?NID=122.

Please join us in the fight for better conditions for the animals of Miami County in 2018!

— Heidi Scribner

Friends of Miami County Animals