Protect Your Pets as Temperatures Drop
DETROIT – Temperatures have plummeted across Michigan, with lows tonight expected to be in the single digits or even colder. Sadly, too many animals will be left outside to fend for themselves, forced to face the frigid winds and extreme temperatures with no food, no water, no shelter, and no hope. In order to protect Michigan pets, the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) is urging pet owners to protect their pets with these cold weather safety tips.
- When temperatures plummet, pets should not be left outside for any length of time. Be sure to bring small or short-haired pets in when temperatures reach 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to take into account precipitation and wind chill.
- Cats should be kept indoors or at least brought into a warm, animal-proofed garage during severe weather.
- Roaming cats often seek the warmth of car engines, so be sure to knock on the car hood or honk the horn before starting your car to startle them and give them a chance to escape.
- Increase the amount of food you provide for dogs left outside by 10-20 percent during the winter months. The extra calories are needed to help an animal to stay warm.
- Regular access to clean, unfrozen water is also critical. Check drinking water frequently – every few hours – to ensure that it is unfrozen.
- If an animal is cold to the touch, or his paws and ears are pale, he may be suffering from frostbite. Move the animal to a warmer area and contact your veterinarian immediately.
If pet owners leave their animals outdoors for any length of time, they are required by Michigan state law to provide enough food and water, as well as adequate shelter. MHS recommends that dogs be provided a well-built, insulated, slant-roofed dog house. The interior should be just large enough for the dog to stand and to lie down comfortably and slightly elevated from the ground for air circulation. The door should face away from prevailing winds and have a protective flap to eliminate drafts. Clean, dry straw should be provided for bedding, rather than towels, rugs or blankets, which absorb moisture and freeze in frigid temperatures.
MHS is currently offering free straw for pets at the MHS Detroit Center for Animal Care, 7401 Chrysler Drive, between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
To report pets left outside without proper shelter in the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park, please call the MHS Cruelty Hotline at (313) 872-3401. A confidential message can be left 24 hours a day. In other areas of the state, animal cruelty should be immediately reported to the local animal control or police.
Examples of inadequate shelter frequently encountered by MHS Cruelty Investigators include an unheated garage or shed, a dog house that is too large or lacks straw, or dogs simply tied out to a porch, fence or deck with no shelter at all.
Failing to provide proper provisions for pets can result in misdemeanor animal cruelty violations carrying a sentence of up to 93 days in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, community service, and loss of pet ownership for a specified amount of time. More serious violations could warrant felony charges.
The Michigan Humane Society is a private, nonprofit organization which cares for more than 100,000 animals each year, while working to end companion animal homelessness, provide the highest quality service and compassion to the animals entrusted to our care, and to be a leader in promoting humane values. For more information, please visit www.michiganhumane.org, or call 1-866-MHUMANE.
SOURCE: Press Release