Photo Of Dog In Back Of Truck During Snow Storm Sparks Online Debate
The dog was photographed by a motorist in Parker, Colorado, on Thursday morning, when the region was hit by a heavy snowstorm and 16F (-8°C) temperatures.
In the snap, the malamute is lying in the back of a pickup truck, covered in a blanket of ice as the snow continues to fall.
According to KDVR, the photo has divided opinion after it was shared online, with many people saying certain breeds of dog 'love' to be outside in snowy conditions, while others have condemned it.
One person tweeted: "It's animal cruelty - no question about it. They need to find this person and get the dog away from him immediately."
Someone else disagreed, writing: "This dog is in his element! Need to close the tailgate though."
Veterinarian Dr Missy Tasky, of the Gentle Touch Animal Hospital, argued that while malamutes can handle pretty harsh conditions, it's still not completely safe for them to be outside when temperatures drop.
She told KDVR: "That's just a recipe for disaster.
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"That breed of dog can withstand extreme temperatures, extreme cold better than the average dog. But in general, just like for people, they can get frostbite.
"It's just not an ideal situation for that guy.
"In that situation, where there's nowhere for him to go, it could be very problematic."
It's also likely the harsh temperatures may have felt even more extreme for the dog, as the vehicle was travelling along a 45mph road - meaning wind chill will have been a factor.
According to KDVR, with the wind chill taken into account, the dog may have been experiencing temperatures that felt closer to 0F (-18°C).
Colorado State Patrol apparently told KDVR it's completely legal to have a dog in the back of a truck, even if the lift gate is unsecured.
However, a spokesperson did add that the combination of circumstances relating to this particular incident could see the driver - who has not yet been indentified - charged with animal cruelty.
The spokesperson explained: "The law is not cut and dry on this but the driver could be cited with a violation of animal cruelty if there was enough evidence."
Officers have not yet confirmed whether or not they are attempting to track the driver down.
Featured Image Credit: KDVR