The polar vortex is delivering the lowest temperatures of the year putting dogs and animals in danger, as authorities have increased welfare checks, more pets are in shelters and some frozen dogs have already been found.
The polar vortex is bringing the coldest temperatures of the year this week as winter strikes with a fury. On Wednesday, snow was forecast to stretch across the entirety of the United States from Washington to Maine. Farther south, a crippling ice storm was forecast from Texas to Maryland.
Some of the most vulnerable population in this weather are animals. While wild animals are conditioned to dealing with winter, domesticated animals are not. The most at risk are stray animals.
Lots of rescue organizations are using all their resources to protect animals amid these harsh winter conditions. But their resources are stretched thin, and they need your help. There is a strong need for people to donate to charities in their local area doing animal rescue work.
In Missouri, a stray rescue worker reported finding a doghouse left by the side of the road “in the middle of nowhere.” Inside, the worker found the mother and her puppies inside, all frozen to death, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.
Thanks to concerned residents, calls for animal welfare checks have ramped up amid the dropping temperatures. One animal control officer said he is dealing with as many as 20 calls a day.
The numbers of dogs being brought into shelters and Kansas City has increased significantly, with most being strays, Fox 4 reports.
On Monday, Oklahoma City saw 44 animal rescue calls at a time when the winter average is 7 animal cruelty calls per day, News 9 Oklahoma reported.
State representative Mickey Dollens (D-Oklahoma City) has filed House Bill 1580 to require people to bring their pets indoors anytime there is severe weather.
The proposed legislation outlines requirements for leaving dogs and several other animals outdoors and extreme weather conditions. The bill includes requirements for proper shelters, safe bedding and clean water.
If the bill passes, the first violation is a $50 fine, the second is $200, and the third is $500, and the animal would be turned over to a local rescue.
During especially frigid weather, dogs need to be brought inside. Animal control officers report finding dogs that have been left outside for many hours, even days at a time. The current winter temperatures in many areas across the US are too cold for any animal to be left outside for an extended period of time. Most domestic animals, especially pets, are not equipped to deal with such frigid conditions.
Experts say that even breeds that thrive and live outside, such as huskies and malamutes, need to have an enclosed doghouse available that is lined with straw, not hay, as well as fresh food and water. While others disagree, saying that in the low temperatures currently occurring across the US, even hay will not be enough to keep domesticated animals sufficiently insulated against the bitter cold.
Animals are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite, just as humans are. They also suffer dehydration due to frozen water bowls.