Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

By on 23 February, 2015 in Lynne Burford, Pets with 0 Comments
Photo by Alex Ciminian

Photo by Alex Ciminian

Although we are not Chicago, or Minnesota, the South still experiences real cold during the winter. Alabama has set some records for cold temperatures lately. While humans more often than not have the luxury of living inside a toasty warm house, many animals are left outside and forced to deal with survival in truly inhospitable circumstances.

Please, bring your animals inside if the temperature falls below 40 degrees. Just because they have fur, don’t think for a minute they aren’t cold in freezing weather. They are. Throw a towel on your kitchen or bathroom floor for that “outside dog” and don’t make them suffer while they try to keep their core warm. Just because Fido or Fluffy has a “dog house” does not mean they are protected from the elements. An uninsulated bare box or even “igloo” can only protect from the wind.

In order for your outside dog to truly be able to be warmer, you must make sure to insulate it. This is easy and inexpensive to do. For under $10, you can buy a couple of bales of hay or straw at the feed store or from your local farmer. Breaking the bales and stuffing the dog house full will allow the dog to burrow in and surround himself with the natural insulation.

Another way to warm an outside shelter is with a heat lamp, also sold at feed stores. These are often used with chickens to keep them warm when they are nesting, and they are great for warming up small areas. Again they cost under $10 and with an extension cord can be hung above the sleeping area. One lamp can raise the temperature in a 4 foot radius by 10 degrees!

For your outside cats, or the feral cat population, a styrofoam cooler with the top taped on and a hole cut in the side, filled again with straw, makes a warm little cat-hotel and should be located out of the wind as well.

The bottom line: Leaving an animal outside with inadequate shelter, in freezing temperatures, is cruel and inhumane.

Alabama’s legislature will address the issue of chained dogs this session. I passed a house this weekend off one of the busy streets in Midtown and saw ten chained pit bulls in a dirt back yard. Not one dog had adequate shelter or a chain long enough to allow them to go inside the makeshift dog houses. Please contact your representative and express your support of these anti-chain laws. No animal should have to live tethered to a tree or stake. That is not a life – it is a miserable existence.

Domestic animals were domesticated to be partners, companions and family members. It is abuse to leave them in freezing weather. It is abuse to chain them 24 hours a day. It is abuse not to show them human compassion and kindness. Please become an activist for those without a voice! Kindness costs you nothing, but it might just save a life. And that life is priceless.

Be the hands and feet that make a difference today!

Lynne Burford is a lifelong animal advocate who has been rescuing since she was a little girl. From birds and snakes to raccoons and foxes, she has rehabilitated and released back into the wild many orphaned and injured creatures. For the last ten years her focus has been on fostering and volunteering with rescues to place dogs into permanent and loving homes. Aside from various sizes of foster dogs, she owns a small pack of chihuahuas and a very tolerant greyhound named Anya.

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