Perhaps the biggest story across the U.S. this week has been the polar vortex, a brutal surge of arctic air that sent temperatures plunging in 49 states. Today, the deep-freeze continues in many places around the country.
Sure the polar vortex is making life difficult for humans, but a story like Peanut’s should serve as a reminder for us all that cold temperatures can be dangerous and even deadly for pets left outside.
Monday night as the mercury dipped well below freezing in Dubois County, Ind., authorities received a tip about two dogs who’d been left in the yard of a home between the towns of Jasper and French Lick.
When the authorities arrived on the scene, they discovered two shivering dogs left outside on the property. One was clipped to a leash, and the other, a Shetland Sheepdog named Peanut, was found inside of a small plastic barrel-style doghouse.
“But it was not, certainly not appropriate for the temperatures we had last night,” Wilson says of the dog’s shelter.
As they looked closer, authorities realized something horrible — temperatures were so cold that little Peanut had literally froze to the ground.
“The dog, its stomach and feet and tail had frozen to feces that was in the pen,” Wilson explains.
Rescuers needed to move quickly and carefully to remove poor Peanut from the ground. Using warm water to thaw the ice, authorities were able to free Peanut and get him to safety in 30 minutes.
Dubois County Humane Society Executive Director Mary Saalman couldn’t believe it when she saw Peanut for the first time. Despite the exposure to the elements, Peanut did not suffer any frostbite. However, he was quite underweight, hungry, and dehydrated — all telltale signs of potential neglect.
“He weighed about 15 pounds and he should probably weigh between 25 and 30,” Saalman tells the Dubois County Free Press. “He would have been dead in a few hours if he hadn’t been rescued.”
“He is recovering and has drank and drank since being in our care,” she adds. “And he has eaten some food.”
Thankfully, Peanut is expected to be just fine, and several people have expressed an interest in adopting the little guy should the opportunity arise.
Meanwhile, his owners were charged with animal neglect, a Class A misdemeanor.