Denver city ordinance states that all pets left out in cold weather must be given proper shelter against the elements

Pets don’t deserve to be left out in the cold, and officials in Denver are making sure it doesn’t happen.

The city ordinance has harsh punishments for owners who abandon their pets to the elements without the proper protection from the cold.

According to KDVR, Denver pet owners who put their cats or dogs outside during cold weather without offering them an insulated pet house — or similar shelter to hide from the elements — can be charged with cruelty to animals or animal neglect. These charges can come with a $999 fine and one year of jail time.

Leaving your pet outside in winter weather for extended periods of time without protection can lead to hypothermia. Pet owners without an outdoor shelter for their animals should limit the time their animals spend outside. Those with dogs should also think about investing in dog sweaters and booties for longer walks in cold temperatures.