GALLIA COUNTY — With winter weather in full swing, many outside dogs are feeling the full effect of the cold and snow.
Laurie Cardillo is the dog warden in Gallia County and is tasked with dealing with reports of abused animals.
According to Cardillo, the law is written to ensure that animals have food, water, and shelter.
“Shelter consists of, we would like to see some kind of dog box with three sides and a roof,” said Cardillo. “It’s kind of a grey area because, in this area, if a dog can get under a building that could be considered a shelter.”
Cardillo strongly suggests that outside dogs have a sturdy shelter that can shield the dog from wind and rain and have some kind of insulation or bedding. She suggests pine bedding or hay to keep the dogs warm, and would discourage blankets.
“I don’t recommend blankets. They are better than nothing at all, but they tend to hold moisture,” said Cardillo. “If it’s raining outside, the dog goes inside and gets the blanket wet, it’s going to hold that moisture in.”
Cardillo explained that by holding the moisture, dogs are more likely to be cold whereas hay or pine bedding will drain the moisture out faster.
Regarding water, Cardillo heavily stressed the need for fresh, unfrozen water for outside animals.
“They have got to have water. A lot of people don’t understand, they think a dog doesn’t need water in the winter time,” said Cardillo. “In the summer time water keeps the body temperature down, in the winter time it keeps the body temperature up.”
Cardillo also suggests keeping the water fresh for the dogs to prevent freezing.
Cardillo also has suggestions regarding neglect and what to report on. When neglect is seen, law enforcement should be contacted, who will in turn pass the information on the Cardillo. The Gallipolis Police Department can be reached at 740-446-1313 and the Gallia Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 740-446-1221.
“If you see a dog that is chained to a tree and you see no box, no signs of food, no water, that is neglect,” said Cardillo. “What I don’t want people to report is people drive by, they see a dog laying on top of the dog house in the snow and calling that neglect.”
Having the proper understanding of what is legally neglect and what Cardillo is allowed to do is important. She reiterated that neglect, according to the law, is providing food, water, and shelter.
“Anytime they see a dog chained to a tree, if a dog is skinny, I’m talking ribs, backbone are showing, that’s an issue,” she said.
According to Cardillo not all skinny dogs are being neglected, a dog could be fed three times a day but is very skinny due to parasites, which is a more indepth legal process in the courts if it is neglect. Cardillo explained a simple way to prevent those kind of parasites.
“We don’t want them to throw food on the ground. Hooks and whips (parasites) live in the ground, so if the food is on the ground it is contaminated and that will make the dog sick,” said Cardillo. “Put the food in a pan or bowl.”
The canine shelter is open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday currently, and can be reached by phone at 740-441-0207.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342.