Animal shelter pushes for more specific language on pet safety l - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Animal shelter pushes for more specific language on pet safety law

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MURPHYSBORO -- After a jump in the number of pets found dead because they were left out in the cold the people at St. Francis Animal Care want tougher laws.

State lawmakers passed a law in 2015 punishing people for leaving animals in extreme weather.

Within the last three days, administrators at St. Francis Animal Care in Murphysboro say at least three dogs in the area have died because of the cold weather.

"We receive messages and phone calls daily, hourly about a dog that's been left out in this freezing cold, cats that have been left in this freezing cold," St. Francis board chairman Diane Daugherty said.

She wants law enforcement to step in but have been told it's difficult to enforce a recent state law because it's not specific enough.

"It's very upsetting when we see law enforcement go on TV and say it's because the law is vague, that's why we can't do anything," Daugherty said.

She believes the law isn't that vague when it says "extreme weather."

"And if you see a dog out shivering and it's got frostbite on its ears and there's a cardboard box that they're calling shelter, that is extreme," Daugherty said.

Administrators are pushing lawmakers to amend the bill. They say Representative Terri Bryant is on board along with thousands of other people.

If you have a pet but for whatever reason can't keep them inside and take care of it, vets at St. Francis say you should take it to a shelter. Unfortunately, they're running out of room for the pets they have.

"We don't have the financial ability or the staff to take care of 50 more dogs but I definitely don't want 50 dogs out there freezing tonight so it's a Catch-22," Daugherty said.

Daugherty said situations like these underscore the importance of making sure you can take care of a pet before you get one.

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