Abandoned animals don’t fair well in winter

Alberta Animal Services recently received two puppies deemed abandoned from the Riverside Industrial area.

“The puppies were abandoned Friday morning and came to us in pretty good health,” said shelter administrator Erica Coomber.

The two puppies are a Labrador type and Coomber estimates them to be around seven weeks old.

Both dogs are female and received a full veterinarian check up yesterday and are ready to be adopted in the next week or two once they have been spayed.

“The sooner we get them out the better. That way they don’t develop bad behaviour habits from being kennelled,” said Coomber.

The abandoned puppies were not outside for very long but Coomber said it is a regular problem throughout the winter that people abandon animals in the frigid temperatures.

“The first concerns when they come in include making sure they’re not hypothermic and that they don’t have cuts or frost bite,” said Coomber.

Cats are the most problematic in the winter and Coomber said it is not unusual that one gets in an engine to stay warm and ends up injured because of that. They also often lose their ears to frost bite.

Coomber said dogs should not be kept outside but if it is necessary that proper measures should be taken to ensure their health and safety.

“They need a good quality insulated dog house, warm water and a secure fence so the public can’t access them or let them out.”

All stray animals go to Alberta Animal Services and there are a number of different ways the public can help keep abandoned animals from suffering.

“If you see any stray dogs or cats we urge everyone to bring them to our facility especially in the winter. We don’t want them out there,” said Coomber.

When animals go to AAS they are checked for all forms of identification and owners are contacted when possible. Through the summer Coomber said the reclaim rate is high because animals have simply gotten out of yards or have gotten lost.

The City has a bylaw regarding animals running at large and the fine is $250. Coomber said in the past three weeks, five dogs have been picked up, owners contacted only to have them left at the shelter because the owners didn’t want to pay the fine.

People looking to surrender their own animals can phone the SPCA or any number of rescue facilities, but Coomber said a shelter should be the last resort.

AAS is also now working with Petland. The retail outlet has stopped the resale of puppies and kittens and are now adopting out shelter dogs.

“We just get the dogs and cats spayed or neutered and then Petland adopts them out for us.”

In order to adopt through AAS all members of the interested family must meet the potential new pet. This includes bringing all current pets to AAS to meet the new member for interaction.

People interested in adopting a pet from AAS can visit their web site (www.albertaanimalservices.ca) or go visit the animals at the facility (4640 61 St. in Red Deer).

“We just want to promote responsible pet ownership. If you’re going to own an animal ensure they’re fixed.”