The puppy was found in a crate with the word "FREE" written on the side, according to Mahoning County Dog Warden
dog abandoned
Credit: Mahoning County Dog Warden

Animal officials in Ohio are making a desperate plea to pet owners to keep their furry friends out of the cold after a puppy was found abandoned in the freezing rain.

The dog was discovered on Monday around 6 p.m., inside of a crate that had been left on the northside of Youngstown, according to the Mahoning County Dog Warden.

The department, which enforces dog laws in Mahoning County and operates the Mahoning County Dog Pound & Adoption Center, said on its Facebook page that someone had written the word "FREE" on the side of the crate.

Police brought the puppy to the local shelter, where the animal is currently undergoing a standard period of quarantine before it can be put up for adoption, WKBN reported.

"We want to make sure that it is healthy before we adopt it out," Dianne Fry, the head of the Mahoning County Dog Warden, told the outlet. "It'll probably be at least five or six days before we actually look at having the puppy leave our facility."

A Facebook post shared by the Mahoning County Dog Warden on Tuesday referenced the pup and urged people to not leave animals out in the cold.

"Last night a puppy was abandoned in a crate outside in the freezing rain on the Northside of Youngstown. 'Free' was written on the side of the crate. What kind of person does this? What kind of life have they lived that this is ok?" the post read. "Cats and dogs depend on us to survive. We humans have domesticated them. They are our responsibility. They deserve love and care."

The post continued, "Please do the right thing. Bring your pets in. Do not leave them out in this weather. At the very least it is beyond cruel."

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Ohio law limits the amount of time pets can be kept confined, allowing any person to rescue an animal that has been kept for more than 15 hours without food or water.

According to WKBN, Youngstown also have city ordinances that also protect from being left out in the cold and its violations may result in fines and jail time.

Officials at the Mahoning County Dog Warden are asking anyone with information about the abandoned puppy or the person who left the dog in the freezing rain to contact the department at 330-740-2205 or