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Photo of dog in open pickup bed goes viral, could be considered animal cruelty

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PARKER, Colo. - A photo making the rounds on social media is drawing harsh criticism from Denver animal lovers.

The photo, reportedly taken Thursday morning, shows a dog covered in snow in the back of a moving pickup truck.

The woman who snapped the photo says she took it around 10:20 a.m. on Parker Road near Interstate 225 in Aurora.

"That's just a recipe for disaster," Dr. Missy Tasky, a veterinarian at Gentle Touch Animal Hospital, told KDVR. "It's just not an ideal situation for that guy."

Tasky says it can be dangerous for dogs to be outside in cold weather with no cover and no way to move around to stay warm.

It was 16 degrees at the time, with a wind chill around 0.

"In that situation, where there's nowhere for him to go, it could be very problematic," Tasky said.

A number of comments on social media have focused on the breed of the dog, which Tasky says appears to be a malamute.

"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," she said.

Colorado State Patrol says it's perfectly legal for a dog to be in the back of a pickup truck, even with the tailgate open. However, Sergeant Blake White says this scenario could be considered animal abuse.

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