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Cook County woman charged with leaving her dog outdoors to freeze to death

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A Calumet Park, Ill. woman faces misdemeanor animal cruelty charges and failing to provide for her dog under owner's responsibilities in the death of her nine-year-old pit bull who was left outdoors for an extended period of time in subzero temperatures reported the Cook County Sheriff's Office press page.

Tracy Cherry, 46, was arrested on Jan. 20 following an investigation at the 1400 block of West 123rd St. where a dog was found dead on Jan. 5 outside of his doghouse. A necropsy revealed the dog died of hypothermia. The temperature in Calumet Park on Jan. 5 was -1 degree; on Jan. 6 the low, -15 degrees.

The dog had been left outdoors for 12 hours.

A pet's tolerance to the cold varies from animal to animal depending on their coats, body fat, activity level, and health. Adjust accordingly, but the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends keeping all pets indoors when the temperatures dip below freezing. Take shorter walks, and check dogs and cats regularly for frostbite.

If a pet is to remain outside, make sure they are provided with a solid shelter and have plenty of fresh water (make sure it is not frozen). The floor of the structure should be off the ground and thick bedding should be provided and changed frequently making sure it is kept clean and dry. A door for the doghouse should be used to ward away drafts from the prevailing winds.

For more information on keeping pets safe in these unusually cold temperatures from the AVMA, please click here.

Cherry is expected to appear in court on Feb. 3.

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