Friday, January 12, 2018
The historic "bomb cyclone" and ensuing cold snap buried the Northeast in snow, knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes, forced airports to close, flooded streets, and caused temperatures to plunge to record lows--down to -45 Fahrenheit in parts of Maine and New Hampshire. It was so cold that a frozen water pipe burst at New York's JFK Airport and a terminal flooded, the ocean froze on the Atlantic coast, snow fell on Hawaii, and even ski resorts had to close down.
Yet despite these extreme, unforgiving conditions, countless dogs were stuck outside on chains or in backyard pens as if they were nothing more than lawn ornaments. They shivered violently, curling themselves into the smallest possible ball in a desperate attempt to conserve body heat while their ears and feet froze and their bones ached from the unrelenting cold.
In Detroit, a man abandoned a small dog in a cage outside an animal-rescue facility in the middle of the night. When shelter workers returned in the morning, they found the dog frozen to death, still inside the cage. In Toledo, Ohio, a cruelty investigator found a female pit bull curled up on a porch, frozen solid. The dog had only a pillow and some blankets--which offer no protection from the cold--and no food or water. A dog in Flint, Mich., who had apparently been hit by a car and sustained a broken femur, had to be pried from the ground after he froze to it.
Animals are simply not equipped to survive these temperatures. They will die if left outdoors without proper shelter. Frostbite, hypothermia and dehydration (when water sources freeze) are constant threats in cold weather.
Please, let your animals stay inside, and urge your friends and neighbors to do the same. If necessary, offer to take their animals into your home to prevent them from freezing. If you see stray or feral animals, keep them indoors until you can find their guardians or take them to an animal shelter. If they're unapproachable, set out food, water and a temporary shelter (such as a small doghouse stuffed with straw) and call your local animal shelter for help humanely trapping them and getting them out of the cold.
The frigid weather may be an uncomfortable inconvenience for us, but for forgotten animals who have no escape from it, it's deadly.
Lindsay Pollard-Post is a senior writer for the PETA Foundation.
Editorial on 01/12/2018
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