Animals have been hit hard as winter storms continued to wreak havoc across the US and care groups scrambled to respond to calls of abandoned pets in brutal below-freezing temperatures.
Authorities across Houston, Texas, along with investigators, have been responding to a number of calls from residents regarding pet dogs and cats struggling on the streets for days without food and frozen water bowls after they were believed to have been left there by owners.
A Texas dog owner is facing charges after eight dogs were found abandoned outside in freezing temperatures. The Houston Humane Society said the dogs were “severely malnourished” and one of the dogs had a broken jaw.
In another incident, six dogs were found abandoned by a local auto body shop in Texas, including one that had died.
Millions of people in the state are reeling under severe winter storms that has led to frigid temperatures, power outages, water shortage and pipe burst at homes. Officials have issued warnings against leaving dogs outside unattended.
Harris County Sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, warned that it is illegal to leave a pet outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog’s movement.
“Texas law requires pets to be brought inside during severe weather. It is illegal to restrain your dog under these conditions. Members of a countywide Animal Cruelty Task Force stand ready to respond,” Mr Gonzalez said.
Extraordinary scenes have been witnessed across the state, with birds found frozen to death on trees, frozen fish tanks and thousands of stranded sea turtles as temperature dipped below -18C on Monday and a second winter blast hammered cities on Wednesday.
The death toll climbed to 24 across the nation in winter storm-related incidents, including a grandmother and three children who died in Sugar Land, Texas, after they accidentally set their home on fire in an effort to stay warm.
A dozen animals, including chimpanzees and monkeys, froze to death at a Texas animal sanctuary after it lost power and staff scrabbled to use generators to keep animals warm.
Authorities in the US faced criticism for poor management as the situation continues to worsen with experts demanding an investigation to identify problems for future.
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