Today I saw someone post some disturbing pictures in one of the local Billings groups of two dogs left out in the snow. The person who posted the photos said these dogs were left out all day regardless of the weather. I almost shared this post, but I am trying to learn the lesson "sometimes pictures don't show the whole story" and I would rather witness things with my own eyes before I take part in causing a riot.

The original poster said that she had called animal control and was told that the minimum shelter requirements were met so there was nothing they could do. That was the statement that made me think perhaps the photos didn't show everything, so I'm doing my best to reserve judgement. Instead, I thought I would take that angry energy and post a friendly reminder to pet owners to not leave their animals outside in the elements. I know that there are some breeds of dogs who are better equipped for the cold than others, but even with those you may need to be cautious if the dog is accustomed to being inside.

From what I can find, Billings doesn't have a dog house ordinance. Missoula has an ordinance that not only requires a dog house, but stipulates features the dog house must have to keep the animal safe. I'm normally the first to cry "government overreach" when they get too personal, but the facts are: 1) dogs can't talk and 2) some people shouldn't be pet owners. Given those two facts, I would certainly vote to pass similar laws for Yellowstone county.

As a side note about the original Facebook post that prompted me to write this, I wanted to mention that someone in the comments, rather than being judgmental or insulting, simply offered to build an insulated dog house for these animals free of charge. THAT is an awesome person and I hope the dog owner takes them up on the offer.

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