Animal Shelters scramble to prepare for cold weather

Animal shelters scramble to prepare for cold weather

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - With whipping wind and plummeting temperatures, animals shelters in the Metro area are racing against the thermometer.

"Everybody stays late on days like today," Denham Springs Animal Shelter Director Vanessa King said.

Volunteers at the Denham Springs Animal Shelter have worked overtime preparing for this week's winter weather.  Right now, around 130 dogs are depending on them for protection from the coming freezes.  For the shelter, that means lining up heat lamps, doubling up on blankets and wrapping any exposed cages in tarps.  The bad weather also means that the shelter will have more residents than usual.

"When they know it's going to be cold, if they see an animal they'll pick it up and bring it in. So the past couple of days we've had several come in," said King.

While the Denham Springs Shelter has had some extra help washing blankets and bedding, the director says volunteers will be in high demand each morning this week as they repeat the cold weather preps.  Foster homes are also needed.

"Even if they just come for the next couple of days and take somebody, that's one less dog that's outside that's going to be in the weather."

It's a similar story at Companion Animal Alliance in Baton Rouge.  While CAA's facility is large enough to allow all their animals to stay inside, CAA's veterinarian explains that a pet's fur coat does not mean it's cold-weather ready.   She says animals should always be brought inside with bad weather, but if that's not an option, it's vital they have shelter and water.

"You might want to provide a wind break for your animals. We have a tarp set up on the outside of the cage in addition to our igloo kennel which protects them on multiple sides," said Dr. Sarah Moore.

Moore also says that stray animals will often seek shelter around cars. In the morning she suggests that you check under the hood and around wheels for any overnight visitors.

Both shelters said they can always use donations of blankets, laundry detergent, kennels, and volunteers.

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