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"One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it." — Anthropologist Margaret Mead

As temperatures are on the rise, so are the calls Columbus Animal Control receives about welfare checks on animals. Many of these calls are neglect calls, but some can be Abuse. Neglect in animal control is the unintentional act of improper care of a pet. Abuse is the intentional act of improper care of a pet. The city ordinance is 90.030.

Many calls are in reference to dogs left outside in the owner’s yard. If you leave your dog outside the dog must be provided with water and shelter. The water must be fresh and potable. There are many times when I have witnessed water dishes that either was partially filled with water, poop, food or other materials. This is not an acceptable form of water for your dog. The dog must also be provided with shelter. The dog must be able to walk into the shelter and turn around comfortably. The shelter must also protect the dog from temperature extremes and precipitation.

When using a shelter for your dog you should never use cloth as bedding for the dog. You should use straw. When the dog goes into the shelter after being wet or snowy, this transfers to the cloth and can mildew it or make it freeze. Straw is a better option and can be cleaned out periodically to prevent molding.

The ordinance also explains tethering of your dog in the yard. When you are tethering your dog you need to be sure the area is free from obstructions. The tether cannot be allowed to entangle itself around trees and other things in the yard. You must also make sure the water dish cannot be overturned by the tether. The owner needs to make sure the dog cannot choke or strangle itself. The tether must be at least 10 feet in length, giving the dog some room to move around. You cannot use choke chains, prong or pinch collars when the dog is tethered.

During the warm days of the spring and summer, Columbus Police Department and Animal Control receive the most calls about animals left unattended in vehicles. The accompanying chart shows temperatures inside a vehicle after certain amounts of time.

Even if you leave the windows down, the temperature will rise quickly. Unless you are going to leave your car running with the AC on for the pet, it is more than likely best to leave it at home. Animal control has thermometers to check the inside temperature of vehicles. Leaving your animal in the car could quickly move from animal neglect to animal cruelty.

Lastly, if you see anyone violating any of these instances please report it to the police department or animal control immediately. Never take it into your own hands. In the past there have been people who have stolen pets from owners with the thought that they were saving the animal. Whether or not they were “saving” the animal, they were also breaking the law. Instead of the owner of the pet getting in trouble for neglect or abuse, they would go free and the person who “saved” the dog would risk getting in trouble for theft.

Over this last week there was a post on social media advising of a dog left outside during the rain. The dog had shelter, but the poster was concerned about the dog being lonely outside in the rain. It was also questionable on whether the dog had fresh water. After the initial post people started to request the address to “rescue” the dog. “Rescuing” the dog like this would be theft. All concerns must be called into animal control or the Columbus Police Department. This complaint has been dealt with and rectified, but it is troubling on how many people thought it was OK to commit a crime instead of contacting proper authorities.

If you have questions, contact animal control at 402-564-8839 or stop in at 1461 25th Ave., the northwest entrance to City Hall.

Columbus Animal Control Officer Shawn Flowers can be reached at or 402-564-8839.


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