DETROIT, Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ — The Michigan Humane Society’s (MHS) Cruelty and Rescue divisions have responded to 229 reports of animals in danger, due to the extreme cold in the last two weeks alone. With forecasters predicting the coldest winter in years and wind chills already dipping to as low as 33 degrees below zero, the MHS wants pet owners to know that leaving an animal outdoors for any length of time can literally be a matter of life and death.

“We just can’t say it enough,” says Sherry Silk, manager of the Society’s Detroit Shelter. “At least eight of the calls we’ve received came too late, and the dogs were found frozen to death, chained to fences and trees with little or no shelter. We’ve got to get the message out that NO pet can endure this weather for an extended period of time, not even large, heavy-coated dogs.”

Five days ago, an MHS rescue driver picked up two kittens who lay curled in the snow, unmoving, with ice covering their small bodies. When they were brought to the Detroit Shelter, an employee noticed that one of the kittens appeared to be moving. They were then wrapped in blankets and warmed by hot water bottles. It seemed almost miraculous that the pair are now recovering from near death. Tragically, many other pets will not be saved in time, often as a result of ignorance or carelessness on the part of the owner.

The MHS offers these tips:
— If your pet must be outdoors for any length of time, under the law, you must provide adequate shelter, such as an insulated dog house with a flap to keep out the wind. The inside should be covered with clean, dry straw (blankets and other cloth items will retain moisture and freeze)
— Provide fresh, unfrozen drinking water
— If your pet exhibits any signs of frostbite – paws, ears or tail tip turning bright red – bring him to a warmer area and contact your veterinarian immediately

The MHS Detroit Shelter has straw available to pet owners for $6 plus tax. If you see or suspect an animal left outdoors unprotected, please call the Michigan Humane Society Cruelty Investigation Department at 313-872-3401. Your name can be kept confidential. People who leave animals outdoors and unprotected can be charged with a felony under Michigan law. The Michigan Humane Society is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the animals since 1877.

CONTACT: Marta Diffen of Michigan Humane Society, 734-721-2109/ Web site: http://www.mihumane.org/



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