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Don't give pets the cold shoulder, Norfolk OPP advises

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Police ask the public to be vigilant about their animals now that a winter cold snap is looming.

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In a news release, Norfolk OPP say it is never a good idea to leave a pet unattended in a vehicle whether it be summer or winter.

“This could have deadly consequences for your pet,” Const. Ed Sanchuk of the Norfolk OPP said. “If it’s too cold for you to sit inside the vehicle then it’s too cold for your pet.”

Police say the best place for a pet during cold weather is inside near a heat source. Exceptions make sense, Sanchuk says, when taking a dog for a walk or if the dog is bred to work and thrive in a cold-weather climate.

The Criminal Code holds animal owners responsible for the welfare of their pets. The federal law allows for stiff penalties for individuals who neglect their animals.

Causing unnecessary suffering carries a maximum jail sentence of five years in prison, as does the charge of injuring or endangering an animal. A conviction on neglecting an animal carries a jail sentence of two years.

The Norfolk OPP have advice for civilians who notice unattended animals in vehicles  during frigid arctic weather.

“If you see an animal in a vehicle on a cold day who you believe may be in distress, gather as much information as you can,” Sanchuk said. “Obtain the make, model and licence plate of the vehicle and immediately enter the store and have the owner paged and contact police.”

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