DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Several investigations are ongoing in the city of Dallas after pet owners left their animals outside in the cold.
Dallas Animal Services says it has been flooded with people reporting animals outside in near freezing temperatures.
"If you're an owner, you need to think about, 'What is my obligation,'" said pet owner Ellen Wilmott. "Make sure that they're adequately protected because if they're not, you haven't done your job then as a pet owner."
DAS says dogs can either be inside or outside if they have adequate shelter, food and water.
"Right now, shelter that's adequate is not necessarily the same shelter that's adequate when it's 65 (degrees) outside," said Whitney Hanson of Dallas Animal Services.
When a report is made to DAS, officers sometimes respond by allowing pet owners the opportunity to correct a situation or citing them.
"If they feel like it's rising to the level of animal cruelty, according to state law, that's when they'll reach out to DPD and their cruelty investigation division," said Hanson.
Dallas Animal Services says it can't specifically comment on the various ongoing investigations, but says those investigations can result in a pet removal from the home.
"It's an odd time because it is very cold outside, but we hovering right above freezing," said Hanson.
DAS said it has the most legal power to remove a pet from the home once it drops below 32 degrees. They can ask for a warrant to take a pet away from its owner.
Dallas Animal Services they hope people will continue to report dogs left outside by calling 311.
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