By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When a Code Blue is effect, animal advocates see red if they find dogs being left out in the extreme cold.
A new city ordinance can fine owners up to $500 if their dog is outside during weather that’s 20 degrees or colder.
ACCT Philly handles the complaints. So far they’ve made 16 site visits.
Susan Cosby of ACCT Philly says, “We want to make sure every owner is aware of their obligations to protect their pet and so we are going to talk to each owner about each individual case.”
“Please don’t record me.”
The owner of dogs on the 21-hundred block on North 62nd Street received a citation for leaving the two German Shepherds out without proper shelter and water.
The SPCA paid a visit to the house.
George Bengal says, “Keep your dogs inside. In this subzero weather these animals can only stand so much.”
The owner says he bought materials to keep the dogs in a heated trailer.
“Just went out and bought a brand new heater. I got there gigantic comforters. And we have a shelter in the back.”
The city ordinance supersedes state animal laws.
That’s because Pennsylvania allows folks to keep their dogs out 24-hours a day, regardless of the weather.
With the SPCA run by the state, they can only get involved if the animal is being abused or neglected.
This leaves SPCA officers with their hands tied in situations like this.
That’s because they cannot enforce a city ordinance, while ACCT Philly doesn’t have the power to seize animals.
George says, “That’s where the laws need to be addressed in Harrisburg to strengthen these laws a little bit more so you don’t have animals out here.”
“Hopefully in the future the state will follow suit as well.”
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson pushed for this city ordinance.
He is an animal lover and a dog owner.
“It’s very important that we advocate for our pets and also make sure we have laws on the books that will protect them and we will continue advocating for them.”
Right now, the push is for people to know the ordinance and bring their dogs inside.
Cosby says, “We are going to follow up with these cases and make sure that by the end of the year every dog in Philadelphia has adequate protection.”
And if you see a dog being kept outside in this extreme cold, you’re being asked to contact ACCT Philly.
For more information, visit: www.acctphilly.org or call 267-385-3800.
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