The weather outside is frightful and, while there may be a few warm days left, it may be assumed that the chill in the air is here to stay for a while.
During this time, it may be wise to bring pets inside, especially at night when the temperatures dip below freezing.
Though animals have fur coats to keep them warm, that extra layer doesn’t always do the trick. When the weather grows chilly, it’s just as uncomfortable for pets to be out in the elements as it is for humans. Pets are more than capable of freezing to death, something Junction City/Geary County Animal Shelter Manager Vanessa Gray stresses.
Frostbite is a possibility with animals if they’re left out too long in dangerously low wind chills.
“It’s dangerous for us, it’s dangerous for pets,” she said. “
Gray recalls a case at the shelter where a shepherd mix dog was frozen to the ground it lay on by freezing rain. Shelter workers saved the dog and were able to send it on to rescue, but not every animal that finds itself in such a situation will be so lucky.
This year so far, she said, the shelter had been fortunate enough not to have any such incidents. Gray would like to keep it that way.
“Ideally, it’s better to keep them inside during the harsh weather,” she said. “But if they can’t just at least make sure that they’re warm enough and that they’re safe.”
Some pets are strictly outdoor animals and Gray understands this, but urges people to provide adequate shelter, water, and food even for animals who don’t set foot indoors.
Make sure outdoor pets have adequate shelter such as a doghouse with an enclosed entrance and a floor, enough space they can stand up to turn around if need be, and water that isn’t frozen. Gray recommended a heated shelter for cats and dogs in the winter. Many people line their doghouses with straw, which Gray recommends. She suggests talking to local farmers to see if they have straw available.
Some people may want to keep stray animals in their area safe and warm as well. For this, Gray recommends either providing the same kind of shelter and sustenance for them someone would have for an outdoor pet or calling animal control.
The Junction City Police Department’s non-emergency line can be reached at (785) 762-5912.
On the subject of the JCPD, it’s also wise to bear in mind that there are ordinances in place pertaining to the care of pets in the city limits. There is, according to Gray, a 15 minute tether law in Junction City that prevents an animal from being tethered alone outdoors for more than 15 minutes at a time.
Gray said it’s wise to make that time even lower during inclement winter weather.
“We suggest being outside with your pet while they use the restroom to ensure they are staying safe,” she said.
Friday’s snow is unlikely to be the last of the season.
So when the wind blows cold on Junction City, please help pets stay out of the elements when temperatures dip below freezing.