Don't Leave Your Pets Outside In Freezing Weather

Dog Outside

It shouldn't need to be said, but apparently some people don’t know that if you leave your pets outside in freezing weather, they will freeze. Alice M. Bigler, 59, from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, left her border collie, Jiffy, outside all night as the temperature dropped to six degrees and the poor dog froze to the sidewalk.

Jiffy, age 11, was morbidly obese at 120 lbs and the Sheboygan County Humane Society spokesman said that is what probably saved his life. The layers of fat helped insulate his organs from the freezing weather. An alert neighbor saw the neglected dog, unable to get up, and called police at 9:00 AM.

It took the humane society employees several hours to release Jiffy and they had to pour warm water over the dog to unstick him from the sidewalk. He is now recovering at the humane society and Bigler has been charged with animal neglect. She is slated to appear in court on December 22 and could face criminal charges at that time.


There are a few lessons here for pet owners. First, obesity in animals is as dangerous as obesity in humans and it is a serious health risk that shortens the mobility and life of a dog. Even elderly animals need daily exercise and a balanced diet. Jiffy was overweight and had difficulty walking, which contributed to his belly sticking to the sidewalk. The fact that his obesity saved his life is just plain lucky. Had he not been overweight, he could have moved himself to a more protected place.

The second lesson is that all animals need shelter, warmth and protection from the elements. Every year thousands of pets die when they are left in cars in the sweltering heat. Alternatively, animals left in freezing weather can die from the cold.

Animal owners have a moral obligation to provide responsible, humane care to their pets.

Those who are unwilling or unable to provide basic nutrition and shelter should not have the privilege of having pets.