"You want them to be inside, but sometimes that's not the best option for a variety of reasons," said Gary Willoughby, executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society, which enforces animal cruelty laws in Lucas County.
The humane society sees an uptick in reports of possible neglect or cruelty as temperatures drop, most frequently of dogs allegedly left outside without adequate shelter.
But the laws aren't as strict as tipsters would like.
"There's nothing in the state law that talks about specific temperatures," Mr. Willoughby
"A lot of it is education," Mr. Willoughby
"We don't often have to bring charges.
Our last resort is to seize an animal."
Few calls come in each year about larger animals like horses.
Most large-animal owners are careful to care for them properly because of their investments' value, Mr. Willoughby
The humane society will work with pet owners who need help providing winter shelter or insulating straw for their animals.
"We do get about 20 or more dog houses donated every year that we distribute to people that need them," Mr. Willoughby