Owner Refuses to Bring Their Dog Indoors Despite Below Freezing Temps: What Happens Next Saved Her

A Harrowing Winter Night

In the bitter cold of a Kentucky winter, Sage, a young Great Pyrenees mix, faced a life-threatening situation. Chained to a dilapidated dog house without a roof and lacking even basic bedding, her plight was one of stark neglect.

Sage - the Dog abandoned Below Freezing Temps

With temperatures plummeting to 8 degrees below zero, Sage was eventually rescued by law enforcement after her owner’s refusal to provide shelter. Sage’s story is not just about survival against the odds, but also about the transformative power of compassionate intervention.

“Sage was tied to a small plastic dog house with no straw, and the roof had blown off,” recounts Hilari Gentry, Founder and Director of Owen County Friends of Animals. Her rescue began when neighbors, alarmed by her dire living conditions, alerted the authorities.

Rescue and Relief

“The night was exceptionally cold, 8 degrees below zero, and it was clear that the owner’s failure to provide adequate shelter constituted neglect,”

Hilari Gentry, Director of Owen County Friends of Animals


The critical decision to rescue Sage was driven by her owner’s refusal to provide necessary care during the extreme winter conditions. “The night was exceptionally cold, 8 degrees below zero, and it was clear that the owner’s failure to provide adequate shelter constituted neglect,” Hilari said. The involvement of law enforcement was a decisive factor in Sage’s fate. They responded to the call for help, confronting the owner about the dire situation. Despite the owner’s initial reluctance and excuses for not bringing Sage indoors or repairing her shelter, the authorities were adamant. Sage was subsequently removed from the property and taken into the care of Owen County Friends of Animals.

Sage - the Dog abandoned Below Freezing Temps

Legal Intervention and Sage’s Rescue

The owner thought surrendering Sage would lead to the dropping of neglect charges. However, Hilari and her team were determined to seek justice for Sage. “We couldn’t overlook such blatant neglect. Even after Sage was relinquished, we insisted on pursuing the case,” Hilari asserts, emphasizing their commitment to holding the owner accountable and ensuring such neglect doesn’t recur.

Adapting to Shelter Life

Sage - the Dog abandoned Below Freezing Temps

Sage’s transition to shelter life was challenging. Accustomed to minimal human interaction, she initially displayed distrust and defensive behavior. “She was snappy with us and did not trust us,” says Hilari. The shelter staff’s persistent kindness and the guidance of a professional trainer gradually helped Sage build trust and adjust to her new environment.

365 Days And Counting


Sage has been a resident at the shelter for over a year, a duration that has seen her waiting for a forever home for more than 365 days. She lives in a small kennel within the shelter, which also provides her with some access to an outside area. The shelter staff ensures that she receives daily exercise and affection, striving to make her stay as comfortable as possible while she awaits her forever home.

The primary challenge in finding Sage a home stems from her selective behavior towards other dogs and her unknown reaction to cats. “She’s very dog selective and not good with cats, which has limited her adoption opportunities,” Hilari explains. Despite showing interest in some potential adopters, these limitations have repeatedly hindered her chances of finding a suitable home. This prolonged stay in the shelter, while providing safety and care, is not a substitute for the warmth and stability of a permanent family, something Sage eagerly awaits.

Sage’s Personality and Behavior

“Sage is loving, eager to please, and smart,” Hilari describes. However, her past has left its mark, making her occasionally stubborn and cautious. Her energy comes alive during her ‘zoomies’, showcasing her playful and spirited side.

Sage - the Dog abandoned Below Freezing Temps

Sage’s interactions with other dogs are mixed. “She tolerates smaller, non-dominant dogs but reacts aggressively towards larger ones,” Hilari observes. Her curiosity towards cats, particularly in chasing them, suggests caution in a home with feline companions.

Training and Daily Life

At the shelter, Sage’s routine includes regular walks, human interaction, and playtime. “We focus on positive interactions and walking her on a leash as often as possible,” Hilari mentions, emphasizing the importance of these activities for Sage’s well-being.

The Ideal Home for Sage

The perfect home for Sage would be with an experienced dog owner, preferably without other pets. “An adopter experienced with strong-willed dogs would be ideal,” Hilari suggests, highlighting the need for patience and understanding in handling Sage.

What The Law Says

In North Carolina, it is generally illegal to leave animals outside in cold weather without adequate protection from the elements. Local animal ordinances vary, but the common requirement is for adequate shelter to protect pets from extreme weather conditions.

  • In Charlotte, not providing shelter for an animal in extreme weather is considered animal abuse under city law.
  • Raleigh requires pet owners to provide “adequate shelters” for outdoor animals, which must include water-proof roofs and bedding for insulation against extreme cold. Violations can lead to fines up to $500 and the possibility of surrendering the animals to law enforcement.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) advises keeping pets indoors during cold weather. Additional tips for pet safety in cold weather include minimizing bathing to prevent dry skin, keeping a dog’s coat longer for warmth, using sweaters or coats for short-haired dogs, watching for signs of hypothermia, preparing an emergency kit for pets, and avoiding frozen water bodies.

If an animal is seen left outside in extreme cold without adequate shelter, it is recommended to contact local animal control. When reporting, it’s helpful to provide detailed notes, including any photo or video evidence, and to follow up if the situation hasn’t been resolved.

A Future Filled with Hope

As Sage continues her wait for a forever home, her story is a reminder of the resilience of animals in the face of adversity. Sage’s story is not just about her past struggles but also about the brighter future that awaits her with a loving family.

Sage - the Dog abandoned Below Freezing Temps

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