GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) — This weekend’s cold temperatures may have you longing that South Carolina heat.
Temperatures in the Grand Strand dropped to the upper teens this weekend with some areas experiencing single digit temps when taking into account wind chill.
As we protect ourselves from the wintry conditions, one local animal shelter is urging that you help your pets do the same.
She said this is the second time Max has been brought to the shelter because he was found outside in the cold.
Roman said this time, the owner decided to surrender him.
“Max is a young adult, and we have had some problems with the owner in the past not taking good care of him. Our animal control officers are really good, caring people and they had gone by to check on him as a result of a call and again found him outside freezing cold- no adequate shelter and such,” she said.
Whether temperatures outside, hot or cold, Roman said it’s important pet owners pay attention to outdoor conditions.
“If it is too cold for you to be outside, these shelters are generally too cold for your animals to be outside. There is no garage or no room in your house that is more valuable than the life of an animal,” she said.
Roman said there’s always an increase in calls when temperatures drop like they did this weekend.
“Absolutely. Not only does animal control get more calls and bring in more animals when we have frigid temperatures like these, but it upsets the public who often see neighbors or dogs in the community that aren’t being taken care of. So, they’re calling more frequently and if in difficult cases, we are allowing them to bring the animals in,” she said.
She said three dogs have been brought into the shelter over the past few days because of their inadequate housing conditions.
“They were brought in by animal control because they did not have adequate shelter or access to appropriate food and water- the water was frozen and things like that,” Roman said.
As for Max, Roman said he has a warm bed to sleep in and is happy as can be.
“He’s getting food three times a day, and he’s getting a lot of love from our staff. So, for him, I think this is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him was being taken away from the owner who clearly was not caring for him,” she said.
She added that they always try to give animal owners the opportunity to improve their actions.
“We do always try to give people the opportunity to improve and offer them some resources like dog houses. For some of these animals, we did offer to house them just during the cold weather if people needed it. Sometimes people are either not thinking or don’t care, and unfortunately, the animals are the ones that lose out in the end,” she said.
Roman said normally at this time of year they’re doing repairs and organizing the shelter to prepare for their busy season; However, she added that they haven’t had an empty cage in their kennels for more than a month.
“If you cannot take care of your animals in this kind of weather, please reach out for some help. Remember that if it is too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. We would love for people to offer to foster adult animals- that is where we are really struggling. So, if they go to our website, there is an application and we will try to match them with a dog that fits into their home,” she said.
Roman said Max will be available for adoption after he’s neutered next week.
According to Horry County’s Code of Ordinances, animal owners have to bring pets inside if it’s under 45 degrees, or that pet needs to have proper outdoor housing.
The penalty for exposing an animal to extreme temperatures in Horry County can include up to 30 days in jail or a $500 fine.
In Georgetown, you could be fined $100 for your first offense.