Sheriff’s Corner: Animals need winter care
Here we are in the second week of December, and I have yet to break out any of the kids’ cold weather gear. Although I am looking forward to that first ride down Winter Park Hill on a tube and the first cruise on the Ahnapee State Trail with our old snowmobile, I can’t help but smile every time I pass the snow shovel in the garage.
The fact of the matter is that we are on borrowed time as it relates to this extended fall season, and we should use this time to evaluate our readiness for the imminent winter season. If you have not already done a quick evaluation of your vehicle from tires to windshield wipers, now is the time. If you have not done a walk through on your home making sure furnaces are checked and outside water valves are cleared, now is the time.
This would also be a great time to evaluate the shelter you have for any animals you keep outside the home. Once the temperatures start to hover around the negative degree mark, we will all scamper into our homes and places of work, but our animals may not be that fortunate.
While some animals are bred and accustomed to the cold weather, others are not. I am not a veterinarian nor do I make judgments on what is or what is not adequate shelter for a given animal species, but to leave a domesticated pet tied to a tree or confined to a shelter without proper protection is nothing short of animal abuse. As it occurs each and every winter season, our deputies will receive calls and will respond to complaints of animals without proper care.
Although we will respond to these calls, I think it is important to note that we in law enforcement are not animal experts. Our primary concern is that any given domesticated animal has three basic necessities afforded to them: food, shelter, water.
That being said, if we do observe conditions that raise a concern, we will not hesitate to consult with an animal specialist for further guidance and recommendations. We have very seldom had to go to such lengths, and I would hope that any pet owner would do everything in their power to keep their animals safe and comfortable throughout the year.
Much like a parent, those of us who have made the decision to own animals carry a responsibility. Whether it be a herd of cattle or a single cat, it is the responsibility of the owner to provide what is needed for those animals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of the year. I found some good tips on winter care for animals at: http://www.americanhumane.org, then type in “Winter Care” in the site search.
Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts!
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Sheriff's Corner: Animals need winter care