SCRAPS seeing big increase in calls for unsheltered pets left in the cold

SCRAPS seeing big increase in calls for unsheltered pets left in the cold

If you’ve looked outside in the last week or so, you may have noticed almost two feet of added snow and if you’ve checked a thermometer, you might have noticed that at times, the temperatures have dipped into the single digits. With that SCRAPS has seen a spike in calls for unsheltered pets left out in the cold and want the word out, folks be mindful your pets aren’t freezing alone outside.

“We are getting at least a dozen calls a day for animals without shelter,” said Ashley Proszek, Field Operations Manager at SCRAPS. “Its hard to find somewhere warm right now, its just too cold.”

She notes that they have already seen a cat come in with hypothermia, and unfortunately she passed away. Frostbite is also a huge concern as snow continues falling.

Animal protection officers at SCRAPS say many of the calls they go on result in warnings or education, but they fear finding the worst.

“We look for shelter, bedding, and a water bowl,” said Officer John Durbin. “If you are going to put your dog on a tether, because they might try and jump the fence, make sure they can’t get tangled up in it, and don’t tether dogs together.”

He notes the laws leave a lot up to officers interpretation and that their work is done on a case by case basis. They also look for obvious signs of distress, like constant barking.

“An ideal shelter for a dog is one that is big enough for it to fit into, stand up and turn around and lay down in,” said Proszek, “but nothing bigger than that.”

If its too large, the dog can’t heat it up with its body heat and will struggle to stay warm.

SCRAPS advises that older dogs, younger dogs and dogs with health troubles are more susceptible to the elements and that you should be mindful of their condition.

“Even if they have somewhere to go,” said Proszek, “be mindful of your pets, there is a point where its too cold for them.”

Cats too can be at risk, especially if they are considered more of a house cat, as opposed to an outdoor cat who will have had more of an opportunity to build up a winter coat.

Additionally, they say longer haired dog breeds are less at risk.

“Huskies, Malamutes, dogs with longer coats like the colder weather,” said Officer Justin Korpi, “this is their time of year.”

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