Temperatures Drop Low, Phone Calls Go Up At Animal Control - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Temperatures Drop Low, Phone Calls Go Up At Animal Control

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WMDT 47 NEWS - When the temperature goes down, the number of phone calls go up at Animal Control services.

"We've just started to see an increase of calls from concerned citizens of animals outside with no shelter," says David Fitzgerald, Director of Animal Control Services for Wicomico County.

However, the increase is not just in Wicomico County. Worcester County Animal Control says they've seen about double the amount of calls. The Kent County SPCA, which also covers Sussex and New Castle animal control services, says they received more than 50 calls between Monday and Tuesday.

While Fitzgerald says responders have found that most pet owners are following regulations for appropriate outdoor shelter, they should make an exception for the winter.

"While they are normally outside and I understand they are outside animals, this is an extreme cold spell for this area and those animals are just not accustomed to that," says Fitzgerald. "We strongly encourage animals to be brought inside especially during these cold temperatures."

Some of the serious consequences for an animal being left outside are the same for humans, such as hypothermia and frost bite. Laurel Abell, associate veterinarian at Atlantic Veterinary Services in Berlin, Maryland, says that animal with diseases such as hypothyroidism and heart disease may be most at risk.

She says pet owners should also make sure they wipe their dog's feet off if they have to go outside, to avoid the dog from licking any salt or anti-freeze of their paws.

"They can be very damaging to dogs feet, and anti-freeze can actually be a very life-threatening thing," says Abell. "It can cause acute kidney failure, and a lot of times dogs will die from anti-freeze ingestion."

Abell also warns that an animal's water bowl can freeze, which can lead to the animal's tongue getting frozen to the bowl.

"When the water freezes over they can't drink and they can become dehydrated just as easily as in the summertime when it's hot," says Abell. "So, owners should make sure their pets have access to water several times a day and that they're breaking the ice so they can drink, it's really important in the winter time."

Even if you do not own a pet, there is a reason for you to be vigilant.

"Cats will sometimes get on top of warm car engines, and when you turn the car on the fan belt can kill them or mortally wound them."

Animal Control officials are urging the public if you see an animal that appears to be neglected and out in the cold, to call them.

"We encourage them to call and let the Animal Control officers go out and investigate it," says Fitzgerald. "Anytime they have any concern about the animals they should certainly give Animal Control a call."

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