Cold snap hard on pets: some tips from a peace officer

‘Animal in distress calls quite common these days’

Callie Hermanson
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake has recently hit a cold snap and Peace Officer Mark Becker says in regards to this extreme cold, it is imperative that pet owners take the appropriate steps to ensure their pets are safe from this injurious cold. He says The Animal Protection Act requires that pet owners take steps to ensure their animals have a dog house to shelter them from the cold.

“Currently, we have already conducted one animal seizure from a property in town,” he says. “The investigation is still on-going. The animal was okay, however, she was very cold and had no access to shelter.”

Becker adds it is recommended that straw is used as a base in the dog house. He says similar to humans, pets sweat, mostly from their paws. Therefore straw provides great insulation and doesn’t create the condensation as blankets do.

“When we get called to a location of an animal in distress, we look for things like: does the dog house have a door on it to secure the heat, does the shelter have a heat lamp, how long was the animal outside for etc. and what is the breed of the animal.”

Becker says he considers all the factors when conducting an investigation. Gross negligence, such as domesticated pets dying from the cold due to human neglect (for example small puppy tied to a tree with a chain with no shelter) could result in a $20,000 fine in court and/or criminal charges.

Becker says in his career in Slave Lake the courts have upheld criminal, provincial and bylaw charges resulting in high fines and conditions imposed against persons who fail to meet the minimum safety requirements under the act.

Peace Officers in Slave Lake do not provide 24-hour service, therefore it is imperative that anyone who sees neglect or abuse, to try calling a Peace Officer at 780-849-8014. If you cannot contact a Peace Officer, contact the Slave Lake RCMP by calling 911 in emergencies, advises Becker.

“We all have a part to play in the protection of our pets.”

Becker says enforcement services also has a Facebook page. They encourage anyone with pets to ‘like’ it. It is called “Town of Slave Lake Enforcement Services”.

Becker says Peace Officers use the page to post pictures of animals they find, so it is a good way to link the owners of lost or found pets.

Woof! Woof! I like to be warm!

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