PUBLIC SAFETY: The phrase “not fit for man nor beast” wasn’t a cliche when the temperature hit 6 degrees just before sunup this morning — with a wind chill at 15-below — said animal safety officers who urged citizens to take heed.
Investigators from the Bergen County SPCA have rescued no fewer than six dogs left in the cold the past two days and were pursuing possible complaints against their owners.
With freezing temperatures expected to continue at least until the end of next week, they’re expecting more cases.
“Animals are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia even if they have fur coats,” Bergen SPCA Deputy Chief Roni Wildoner told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning. “If you feel the cold, so do they.
“Young pets, old pets, and sick pets are especially susceptible to the cold,” Wildoner said. “Short-haired or smaller breeds should never be left outdoors for long periods in the cold.
“Pets require extracalories,unfrozen water and protection from wind, rain, snow and ice,” the deputy chief said.
An unheated shed or garage does not make a good shelter, she added.
“Leaving your pets outside without adequate shelter is against the law in New Jersey under the states Title IV animal cruelty laws,” Wildoner noted. “If proper shelter cannot be provided, owners must keep their pets indoors.”
She outlined several safety requirements:
• Proper shelter should be elevated off the ground, have adequate dry bedding and be large enough for the animal to turn around — but no so large that body heat is not retained. A flap in the front helps with wind and to keep the heat inside;
• Use heated water bowls to prevent dehydration and provide extra food for extra calories;
• Anti freeze is toxic and should be kept away from pets;
• Ice melts will cause blistering to dogs paws and foot pads.
“The Bergen County SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division will be responding to all calls concerning animals without proper shelter as the highest priority,” Wildoner said.
“If you see a pet outside without proper shelter, please do not hesitate to call the Bergen SPCA,” she added. “Don’t assume someone else will say something.
To report animal cruelty or neglect in Bergen County, call the SPCA: (201) 573-8900
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