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Kent County Animal Shelter provides tips to keep your pets safe in the cold weather

Adequate shelter and water is required if you must leave your animals outside.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — The winter months are in full swing and with the frigid temperatures, it's important to make sure your pet is safe when out in the elements. 

The state legislature has enacted two laws — House Bill 4332 and House Bill 4333 — which create stiffer penalties for animal neglect and abuse. 

While it's not illegal to keep your pets outside in below-freezing temperatures, it's highly suggested that you bring your animals indoors.

If that's not a possibility, the Kent County Animal Shelter recommends a three-sided structure with appropriate insulation (straw, no towels or blankets) to keep your dog or cat warm. Towels and blankets can get wet and freeze.

Water must be accessible to your pets at all times. Depending on the temperature, water can freeze very quickly, which is why if your pet is left outside, it's imperative that you constantly check on the animal's water bowl.

If your animals are left in a garage or shed, KCAS requires that there still be a doghouse with insulation inside. 

The best course of action is to keep your pets inside during extreme weather conditions.

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