Cold Weather and Your Dawg

With the air getting colder, we at My Fairy Dawg Mother headquarters were inundated with reports of animals being left to freeze outside this week. While we will always do what we can to save any dawg in need, we thought it would be a great opportunity for everyone to become comfortable with the actual statutes and laws surrounding animal cruelty in Colorado.

“A peace officer may impound an animal that the peace officer has probable cause to believe is a victim of animal cruelty, neglect, or animal fighting.”

“Officers and agents of the bureau of animal protection, peace officers, and licensed veterinarians may enter areas or non-residence buildings to care for animals confined without adequate food or water. No such liability for any such action.”

“If upon petition, a court determines that an owner of an animal seized is not able to adequately provide for the animal, or is not fit to own the animal, the court shall order the animal sold, placed for adoption, given to a shelter, humanely destroyed, or otherwise disposed.”

“No animal shall be mistreated or neglected to such degree or abandoned in any circumstance so that the animal’s life or health is endangered.”

“A person commits cruelty to animals if he or she knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence overdrives, overloads, overworks, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, allows to be housed in a manner that results in chronic or repeated serious physical harm, carries or confines in or upon any vehicles in a cruel or reckless manner, engages in a sexual act with an animal, or otherwise mistreats or neglects any animal, or causes or procures it to be done, or, having the charge or custody of any animal, fails to provide it with proper food, drink, or protection from the weather consistent with the species, breed, and type of animal involved, or abandons an animal.”

Mistreat: every act or omission which causes or unreasonably permits the continuation of unnecessary or unjustifiably pain or suffering.

Neglect: failure to provide food, water, protection from the elements, or other care generally considered to be normal, usual, and accepted for an animal’s health and well-being consistent with the species, breed, and type of animal.

“Any person who intentionally abandons a dog or cat commits the offense of cruelty to animals. A person commits cruelty to animals if he or she recklessly or with criminal negligence tortures, needlessly mutilates, or needlessly kills an animal.”

Serious physical harm means any of the following:

  • Any physical harm that carries a substantial risk of death;

  • Any physical harm that causes permanent maiming or that involves some temporary, substantial maiming; or

  • Any physical harm that causes acute pain of a duration that results in substantial suffering.

So what can you do?

If you suspect a violation of ANY of these standards, visit this website to make a report.

According to the website, once you find the agency in your area that investigates reports of animal cruelty or neglect, In those counties that do not employ Bureau of Animal Protection agents, reports should be made to the Sheriff’s Office or local law enforcement. Reports that go directly to local investigating agencies receive attention. To file the complaint, you will need to provide your name, phone number, and a detailed description of the issue (i.e. species of animal(s) involved, the location of the animal(s), and the animal owner information). Once you file a complaint, local law enforcement and/or a BAP commissioned officer will take the lead in the investigation, with assistance from BAP officials if necessary. Only law enforcement and district attorneys can file criminal cruelty or neglect charges against an individual. Keep in mind that officers cannot comment on a case until the investigation is completed, especially if there is a possibility of pending litigation. A complainant may check in occasionally to see if the investigation has concluded and may request information about specifics at that time. Good faith reporting of animal cruelty results in immunity from civil liability.

For a lot of us, that doesn’t feel like enough—I get it. But the take home message here is that really and truly, the best thing you can do for the animal, for the future of all animals, and for the animal protection system, is to file an appropriate report on the incident(s). Unfortunately, we all know that sometimes, systems fail. At this point, or even in the mean time if you’re waiting for BAP to conduct an investigation, your next best step is to involve experts and do the best you can to persuade the animal’s guardian to bring the dog inside. It is possible that the individual may be ignorant of how inappropriate it is to leave a dog outside in freezing temperatures.

If that doesn’t work, maybe you have an extra doghouse lying around? We will be accepting donations all winter long to offer pet owners we are able to contact when we receive these social media reports. A well-built and straw-stuffed doghouse (coupled with public attention from animal welfare activists) is likely to, at minimum, make the life of the dog a little more bearable. Please help us help the dawgs this winter and share this information! If you have a doghouse or straw to donate, or would like to volunteer with us, please email

Don’t forget, all donations are tax deductible!

As for my pack, we’re staying warm with extra snuggles in this weather. Hope you are enjoying the same! 

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