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The discovery of a dog who chewed off her own foot after being tied up and abandoned behind a Wal-Mart in freezing weather should be a wake-up call to all animal guardians to bring their dogs and cats inside.

Chained dogs are especially susceptible to cold weather. They often become entangled in their chains and unable to reach food, water or shelter. Backyard dogs are can be “out of sight, out of mind,” and owners often don’t notice when chains can become tangled around a limb or embedded in a dog’s neck. Chained dogs have even hung themselves after their chain got caught on a fence.

Many dogs, including short-haired breeds such as Dobermans and pit bulls, young or elderly dogs, and small dogs such as Chihuahuas, dachshunds and beagles are even less able to handle the cold than humans.

Neglected and abandoned animals need our help in order to survive. If you believe a dog or cat is being denied adequate food, water, shelter or vet care, please alert authorities right away. Your intervention could save a life.

Teresa Chagrin, animal care and control

specialist, People for the Ethical Treatment

of Animals (PETA), Norfolk, Virginia

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