Memphis Animal Services warns of criminal charges if pets left out to die in frigid temps

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The director of Memphis Animal Services (MAS) said it would seek criminal charges against any pet owner whose animal dies outside during the weather event expected over the next four days.

“If someone fails to provide adequate shelter for their pet in these freezing temperatures and that pet suffers or God forbid dies, we will be seeking criminal charges against that pet owner,” said Alexis Pugh, director of MAS. “I always like to work with people, but this is not something where we can give a warning and walk away. If your pet is outside, your pet is at risk of death and you must take that seriously.”

Pugh said that outside dogs and cats need to be brought inside to warm shelter during the drop to single-digit temperatures. She said even high-end dog houses will not be enough to keep canines safe during this weather event.

“We don’t want to have to come to your house and issue you criminal charges because your pet died because you left your pet outside in the cold. We want to support people who love their pets by providing supplies, crates and things like that so they can bring them inside. But I’m asking if not just for the four days in the spirit of Christmas please bring your animals inside,” said Pugh.

Pugh urges pet owners who rent their properties who are not allowed to have pets inside call their landlords to request exceptions during this weather event.

She also said that MAS is in desperate need of pet fosters, as this weather event will put strain on their already strained capacity.

For more information, call Memphis Animal Services at 901-636-1416.