by Elisa Black-Taylor
Date: January 2011: Good morning readers. There’s something very harsh about this winter that we haven’t seen here in the U.S. in many years. I have a feeling many parts of the world are also experiencing a severe winter. Unfortunately, pets are freezing to death this year.
Today I’d like to address a problem taking place in Pontiac, Michigan located in Oakland County. The population for Pontiac is roughly 66,000 and the temperature as I write this article is 21 degrees F. For the record, temperatures have dipped into the teens on several nights and wind chill in the single digits.
And until the city rescinds it’s animal control ordinance they are without an animal control officer to enforce animal welfare laws during this deadly winter. Their sole officer was let go in 2010 and the position nixed.
So how do freezing pets and no animal control officers affect a town? People are abandoning dogs and cats and there’s very little legal control over any of it. Without an animal control officer, people are getting away with murder.
Administrative supervisor for Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center, Joanie Toole, told the Oakland Press they hope to have the situation of no animal control officers under control in March. This may be too late for the many dogs and cats left out in the cold.
Last week the Oakland Press reported that 15 dogs (all pit bull mixes because of their thin skin) and 4 cats have frozen to death in Pontiac. In Inkster, Michigan, the Animal Care Network, a volunteer organization, has already found three dead dogs and three dead cats. This is really scary because the total for last year was nine dogs and there are still several more months left with the potential for dangerous temperatures. The U.S. is unpredictable weather wise. There could be snow as late as April if the current weather patterns continue.
The freezing temperatures along with no animal control officers is making this a deadly year for the pets of Pontiac. Members of the Animal Care Network are doing all they can to help the dogs and cats in the area survive the winter. Not only are they checking on the animals, they will provide food and straw at no charge if they are made aware of the need.
Here’s a video where Fox 2 news went along with members of the Animal Care Network as they went about the task of checking on the animals. This video shows animals left out in the cold, many starving to death. Since cats are also being found I’ve included this video to give the reader here an idea of what it’s like trying to protect animals in a town with no animal control authorities.
Abandoned Dogs Starving and Dying in Pontiac: MyFoxDETROIT.com – opens in a new window.
I’m also referencing the page that told me of this heartbreaking story. DO NOT click on this link if you are easily upset. I’m only including it to show the seriousness of this situation. Not just in Michigan, but anywhere the weather is cold enough to kill.
Pet owners everywhere, PLEASE take care of your pets. Animals living outside should be in a size appropriate doghouse (nothing huge) and the doghouse should be raised up on bricks so the floor doesn’t freeze to the ground. The doghouse should fit the dog so heat is conserved.
Don’t use blankets and towels to keep your pets warm. They will get wet and freeze. Use dry straw instead and pack it down. Use as much as you can so your pets can burrow down and keep warm.
Water pets at least twice a day. Snow and ice are NOT substitutes for fresh water.
Feed an outdoor animal extra food during the winter months. Animal body fat is an insulator.
I remember a few years when I had an outdoor doghouse and no dog. My mother and I would fix it up each winter for the feral cats in the neighborhood. There wasn’t a night that went by that we didn’t see a head peeping out after enjoying a good meal and a fresh drink of water. Mama had 200 pine trees on her property and one of my chores was filling the dog house with the pine straw. Together we tamed many a feral by protecting them from the elements and making sure they didn’t go hungry.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I grew up in a place where people cared about the neighborhood animals. We watched out for each others pets during vacation time and family emergencies. A few years back my neighbors went through a tragedy and we cared for their four dogs while both of them were hospitalized. This is what people who love animals do.
Some of the blame has to fall on people who know these pets are freezing to death and still refuse to lift a finger to help. Not getting involved has crossed a line that should never have been drawn in the first place.
Please forgive me for this depressing story. I have a soft spot for animals who live out in the cold. It’s a horrible way for a dog or cat to die. If you can’t care for an animal, don’t leave it out to freeze. Call a humane society or volunteer group. The way these animals died is unforgivable. If this story can help prevent one death, I’ve done my job for the day.
I know pictures-of-cats.org has readers from all over the world. What I’d like to know from all of you is whether this is happening where you live. Pets left freezing in the snow is as harsh as any other form of abuse I’ve reported on. I’m just curious as to whether it’s happening everywhere or just in the U.S.
Source other than indicated in the article: http://www.theoaklandpress.com
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