As temperatures dip dangerously close to freezing over night tonight the Louisiana SPCA (LA/SPCA) is advising residents to keep pets warm. Pet owners should take the following precautions:
- Pets should not be kept outdoors during the cold weather. Adequate shelter from the elements should be provided. Like humans, they can also suffer from hypothermia and frost bite. Ear tips are especially susceptible to frostbite.
- If you cannot bring your pets indoors, their outdoor shelter should provide adequate protection from high winds and lower temperatures. Provide them with a sheltered enclosure and include blankets and pillows to provide them with additional warmth.
- Be aware that puppies and kittens and senior pets are particularly sensitive to colder temperatures and should never be left outdoors.
- Gas furnaces and electric heaters should not be left on in a home unattended. It can create a fire hazard and animals left alone cannot signal for help.
- Be cautious if your cat likes being outside. Cats left outdoors have a particular hazard; they often crawl into a warm car engine to get warm. When that engine is next started up, the cat can be seriously injured or killed by the fan blade or belt. It's much safer to keep your cat indoors in cold temperatures.
With the increased numbers of strays roaming the streets over the past 2 months, the LA/SPCA expects more animals to seek shelter overnight inside abandoned properties as well as under raised houses. “Nights like tonight drive home how critical full Animal Control services are for our community,” explains Ana Zorrilla, LA/SPCA CEO, “whether an animal is stray or owned, Animal Control needs to have the resources to respond to all animals in need.”
As part of the “emergency only” Animal Control services being provided through year-end, the LA/SPCA will respond to calls regarding animals in yards without proper shelter when the temperatures reach freezing. Additionally, the LA/SPCA will continue to accept strays brought in by the public but is unable to respond to calls to remove strays roaming neighborhoods. These calls are being directed to NOPD.