City officials reminding residents ordinance requires animals to have shelter from the cold

City officials reminding residents ordinance requires animals to have shelter from the cold

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Pets being left outside in the cold are causing concern among residents and city officials.

Though we are seeing the snow melt from this weekend's storm, that is no excuse to leave pets outside in the cold. And Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare wants to remind you of some of the consequences of not giving your pets the shelter they need.

Cold temperatures have triggered multiple phone calls to AAMW about animals being left out in the weather. Some of our viewers have asked why it takes a bit longer for workers to get to these welfare check calls.

And Director Richard Havens says the answer is simple, lack of staff. He tells us at any given time, they many only have only 3 or 4 officers on the street.

"We may have people that have been attacked by animals, animals that have been hit by cars, so we need to be very careful and understanding that we are working the calls as quickly as possible and that we do have to prioritize to make very judicious decisions with regards to what order of calls that we have to run them in," says Havens.

In the city of Amarillo, it is illegal not to provide animals shelter to be protected from the elements, or food and water, meaning frozen water is unacceptable.

Though Havens says citations are never the goal, officials take the ordinances very serious and will issue them during welfare checks if necessary. It is a class C Misdemeanor and will go on your record.

"We just want people to fix the problem and take care of their animals," says Havens. "However if they don't want to work with us and come into compliance with city ordinance, then we will issue citations and we can issue citations on a daily basis until they either A come into compliance or B give up the animal."

If you know your neighbors well, you are encouraged to speak with them if they have left out their pets. And of course, AAM&W offers their assistance, but they ask for your patience. Havens says calling ahead or before a storm rolls in is ideal.

"People need to take some responsibility for themselves. Take responsibility for those animals. Those animals depend on them. Those animals do not have the ability to go out and buy a doghouse, go out and get water, get food. You take them on, animals are not a right."

To read up on the ordinance, click here.

For Animal Management and Welfare's information, click here.

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