CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Some of those most affected by this cold weather have no control over their fate.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control is investigating after a puppy froze to death overnight. Its littermates are lucky to be alive.
Officer Matt Marler wants to prevent that from happening to other animals. He has investigated animal cruelty for more than a decade.
"We're bundled up," said Marler. Animals "have nothing."
When temperatures drop, animal abuse complaints go up, said Marler. Penalties can range anywhere from $50 to $500. In extreme cases, the animal can be taken away.
By law, owners can keep their pets outside, but they ney need to have access to shelter, bedding and water.
FOX 46 Charlotte took a ride with Marler as he investigated cold weather related abuse complaints.
"Dog has ice on its nose," he said, reading the complaint.
After arriving at the home the pit bull mix had access to a dog house and water.
"Keep an eye out on that water make sure it's not frozen," Marler said.
"I poured hot water in earlier but it freezes up," a woman responded.
At the next home, several caged dogs appeared healthy and also had access to shelter. But like the previous call, the water had frozen due to the cold.
"It's about frozen through," Marler told the dogs' owner. "So when you get a minute just put some fresh water in there."
An animal lover, Marler says he takes this personally and is glad when a complaint turns out not to be a concern.
"The dogs were outside. It is cold but they were healthy. They had water. They had proper shelter," he said. "And that's what matters. They're warm."
Animal Control will provide straw for bedding and dog shelters for pet owners who can't afford it, Marler said.