As extremely low temperatures are expected to reach the Magnolia State Thursday night, the Mississippi Animal Rescue League (MARL) is advising outdoor pet owners to look out for the safety of their outdoor animals.
From common pets like dogs and cats to farm animals such as cows and horses, MARL is urging owners to have a heated enclosure for the animals to be warm while portions of the state endure below-freezing elements.
“Expected severe weather conditions can be life-threatening for outdoor pets,” the MARL wrote in a release. “The Mississippi Animal Rescue League is advising all pet owners to keep their pets inside or in a heated area during this extremely cold weather.”
Livestock owners are encouraged to have plenty of hay available to keep their animals warm. It is also recommended to supply plenty of feed and to make sure the animals’ source of water is not frozen.
As for domesticated pets, owners are asked to have an appropriate shelter readily available. For dogs with outdoor dog houses, it is recommended for the enclosure to have a door of sorts to block wind currents and for there to be a thick layer of shaving or hay as bedding to entrap heat.
Mississippi law requires for adequate shelter to be provided for dogs and cats. A pet owner who deprives their animals with shelter could be subject to a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000 and could possibly face up to six months in jail.
“Please remember, if it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. It is the right thing to do,” the release states. “Providing adequate shelter for your animal is required by law.”
Anyone who sees a stray or abandoned animal is asked to contact their local police or sheriff’s department to get in touch with the animal control department.