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ACS says residents who leave pets out in cold could face fines of $300 or more

Officers may remove animals if they’re in grave danger

A file image of a dog wrapped in a blanket.
A file image of a dog wrapped in a blanket. (Ebowalker/Pixabay)

SAN ANTONIO – Animal Care Services is reminding pet owners to ensure their dogs and cats are sheltered during this week’s freezing weather event, as the shelter has a “zero tolerance” policy.

With temperatures dipping below freezing on Tuesday, the San Antonio shelter says it is best to keep pets inside or place them in an insulated dog house or protective enclosure.

A City of San Antonio ordinance states a suitable shelter for a pet must include walls, a roof and an elevated floor.

“Animal Care Officers will have zero tolerance for the owners of pets found without proper shelter, food and water during this weather event,” ACS officials said in a news release.

Owners who do not cooperate with ACS officers in sheltering a pet could face a fine.

ACS spokesperson Lisa Norwood told KSAT that citation fees, set by a court and not ACS, start around $300.

If animals are believed to be in danger, officers may remove them from the home.

“Animals can be taken under exigency circumstances; that is, the pet is in grave danger and will not live over the next 24 hours unless removed from their situation,” she said.

The release states that vulnerable and elderly pets, shorthaired dogs and all cats shouldn’t be left outside during the winter months.

Other tips from ACS include:

  • Put a sweater on shorthaired dogs when outside.
  • Provide extra food to pets who spend a lot of time outside, as they “use up more energy trying to stay warm.”
  • Store chemicals, like antifreeze, out of the reach of pets.
  • Bang on the hood of a vehicle before starting it, as some cats may rest near warm engines.

Residents can make reports by calling 311.

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