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Longview dog found frozen solid; owner will face charges

By Sarah Thomas
Jan. 7, 2014 at 11 p.m.

By the time Longview police officers got the call Tuesday morning, a dog chained outside had frozen to death as temperatures dipped into the teens.

"They couldn't even get a temperature on the dog," said Longview police spokeswoman Kristie Brian. "It was frozen solid."

Police said animal cruelty charges will be filed against the owner of the dog that was found dead about 9:30 a.m. in the 2400 block of 13th Street.

Police said it had been chained to a tree with no shelter, water or food. That left the animal with little chance to survive frigid temperatures that swept the region early this week.

"If it's under 20 (degrees), it's dangerous for pets and people," said veterinarian Cherie Nazzal of the Animal Medical & Surgical Hospital in Gilmer. "They can get frostbite in five minutes in those temperatures if they don't have proper bedding and shelter."

For a pit bull to be in the condition found Tuesday morning by the animal control and police officers responding to call, it must have been exposed for more than 24 hours, she said.

Monday's mercury never made it above the freezing mark.

The official low temperature Monday night into Tuesday was 16 degrees.

Longview police and Animal Control were urging residents to provide pets with adequate food, water and shelter, especially during subfreezing weather. Officials said all reports of cruelty would be investigated and appropriate charges filed.

Though officials recommend bringing pets indoors during subfreezing weather, Nazzal said there are ways to protect outdoor pets from the cold.

"A doghouse with lots of bedding and a heat lamp is an acceptable way, or even a light bulb - anything that generates heat," she said, adding heat lamps can be dangerous if a dog chews through the cord.

Even pets that appear to be OK after a night spent in the cold could be suffering from dangerous health issues caused by exposure, Nazzal said. Dogs can develop pneumonia and other forms of respiratory infections that can lead to death, she added.

The owner of the dog found Tuesday will face Class A misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, Brian said.

If convicted, the owner, who was not identified, faces up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.

- Follow Sarah Thomas on Twitter: @SarahLNJ



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