RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--From Chesterfield County to the city of Richmond, the scene was much the same. Once the frigid temperatures gripped the area, concerns turned to four legged furry friends left out to brave the bitter cold.
Animal control field supervisor Richard Stewart says the phone calls in Richmond kept their on-call workers busy. “Between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. she got a total of fifteen calls and ended up taking 5 dogs into the shelter because of the weather” Stewart added.
He said their efforts didn’t end there. CBS 6 News tagged along Tuesday when Stewart and officer Barbara Jones dropped off several bales of hay to people who keep their animals outside.
It didn’t take long, though for officers to spot a pit bull with inadequate housing. Officer Jones made the decision to remove the dog and left a summons for the animal’s owner.
“We have resources. We have rescue groups we work with. If you need a dog house, we’ll talk to someone and help get a dog house. We’ll do whatever we can to help out " Stewart explained.
In Chesterfield, animal control officers told CBS 6 News they responded to 19 calls from people concerned about pets left outside. None was seized. Officers said once they made the welfare checks, owners took the pets in.
Teenager Thomas Kaupish didn’t take any chances with his dog Sammy. He even cut their afternoon walk pretty short because of the extreme cold.
“I think it is pretty serious. My dog Sammy does ok in the cold, but not all dogs are like that, so it’s important to keep them inside” Thomas added.
When the temperatures are this brutal, Stewart hopes others will follow Thomas’ lead. He also offered this advice for pet owners who keep their animals outside.
Make sure there is always a fresh supply of water available. “ Also, don’t think a plastic pet carrier is suitable. It’s not a dog house” Stewart said. He points outs that a dog house should be raised off of the ground 1 to 2 inches.
“Use hay or cedar chips to give it some insulation from the cold, hard ground. It helps keep them warm through the night, because they get Hypothermia just like us” Stewart explained.
In Richmond, we have a lot of Pit Bulls and their coats are thin. They don’t do so well in the cold. They’ll freeze overnight, and they will die. We just want people to think about their pets. If you are cold outside, then your pet is cold too” Steward added.