Bend PD share tips, laws for winter pet care

All domestic animals must get 'minimum care'

BEND, Ore. - As winter weather has arrived, the Bend Police Department reminded the community Wednesday of some basic legal requirements for pets under Oregon law.

"We are passing along guidelines from the Oregon Humane Society, specifically aimed at providing advice on how to best take care of your furry friends during the cold late fall and winter months," said Lt. Clint Burleigh.

Food, Water, and Vet Care:

All domestic animals in Oregon must receive minimum care as follows (ORS 167.310 to 167.351):

* Food of sufficient quality and quantity to allow for normal growth or maintenance of body weight

* Access to potable water (suitable for drinking).

* Veterinary care when necessary to relieve distress from illness, injury or disease

* Access to an area kept reasonably free from excess waste or other contaminants that could affect the animal's health

If you must keep your pets outside, consider looking into a heated water bowl to ensure the water does not become frozen. Ice and snow are not considered adequate sources of water for pets. Keep in mind that the amount your cat or dog eats during the summer may differ greatly during the winter, due to the animal using more calories to maintain an appropriate body temperature.

Appropriate Shelter:

Oregon law (ORS 167.310) requires that all domestic animals have constant access to adequate shelter. Adequate shelter includes a barn, doghouse, or other enclosed structure that protects the animal from wind, rain, snow or sun, and has dry bedding to protect against cold and dampness.

Shelters may be commercially made specifically for animals, such as molded plastic "igloo"-type dog houses, or may be constructed at home, as long as the shelter provides the protection and bedding stated above. The floor of the shelter cannot be the ground; in other words, there must be a solid layer of material separating the animal's bedding from the ground. Shelters and the surrounding area must be maintained in good repair and waste must be removed regularly.

Oregon law specifies that the following are NOT adequate shelter for domestic animals:

* Crawl spaces under buildings or parts of building such as steps, decks, overhangs or stoops

* The space under a vehicle

* The inside of a vehicle if kept there in a manner that would be considered detrimental to an animal's health or safety

* Shelters made from cardboard or other degradable materials

* Wire or plastic travel crates

* Shelters with wire or chain-link floors, unless the domestic animal is a bird

* Shelters surrounded by waste, debris, obstructions or impediments that could adversely affect an animal's health

If you have a pet and are in need of resources to care for it properly, Burleigh urged you to contact police at 541-693-6911.

"We are happy to discuss options for you and your pet," he wrote. "By being proactive about providing excellent care for your pet, you are contributing to a healthier and safer community!" 

Burleigh also urged the public to contact police for help if they see animals are not being provided the required water or winter shelter.

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