(Philadelphia) – ACCT Philly is urging Philadelphia residents to keep their dogs warm, and ideally indoors during the cold days ahead. This winter marks the first year where Philadelphia ordinance requires residents provide adequate indoor shelter for their dogs or face penalties.

“Keeping dogs safe and warm is a basic need,” says Susan Cosby. “Don’t risk fines by taking steps now to ensure your dog has protection from the elements.”

Philadelphia residents must provide indoor shelter for their dogs during periods where Philadelphia declares a Code Blue or Code Grey advisory for extreme cold weather. Designed to preserve the lives of chronically homeless individuals, a Code Grey is declared when the National Weather Bureau predicts high winds and/or heavy rains or  frozen precipitation with temperatures above 32 degrees. Code Blue emergency is declared when the temperature, wind chill and precipitation combined together result in real-feel temperatures near or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Codes Grey and Blue are in effect when declared by the City of Philadelphia.

ACCT Philly urges residents who keep dogs outdoors some or all of the time to take action now, before a Code Grey or Blue advisory is declared. Steps to take include:

  • Acclimating your dog to spend most of his or her time indoors.
  • Ensuring any housing provided for your dog is in good repair, moisture-proof, windproof and has a raised floor at least two inches from the ground.
  • Supply plenty of clean bedding material of stray, hay or cedar shavings.
  • Add a heated water bowl – dogs can’t drink ice!

Philadelphia residents who need help or advice to improve housing for their dogs are urged to contact ACCT Philly at fieldservices@acctphilly.org for assistance.

If you would like to report a dog left outdoors in severe weather call 267-385-3800 and dial 0 to speak with the dispatcher or file a report online here with all the details you have available.