Mary Alice Reporting – With the first snowfall, Tuscarawas County residents are reminded to keep their outside pets warm.

One main way to protect animals is ensuring adequate shelter is in place with a bed of straw. Hay should not be used since it soaks up moisture, creating a cold and soggy environment.

Tuscarawas County Dog Warden Terry Warner says those pets that spend more time outside should be fed more frequently and water dishes should be kept fresh and unfrozen.

Warner stresses to, specifically, take care of dogs’ feet over the winter as they can experience frostbite.

“And I always tell a person [it’s the same as] taking your shoes off and standing there for 15 minutes. Actually, had a guy do that once and within five seconds he had pain going up his legs and I said that’s what your dog is [experiencing] right now. They can’t tell you when they’re in pain. Animal neglect and abuse is a chargeable offense.”

Cats and other smaller animals also have a tendency to crawl under a vehicle’s hood and the recommendation is to bang the hood before starting the engine in an effort to scare them away. Building a shelter for cats can also be a simple process by using a tote and a Styrofoam cooler. For details, visit www.alleycatadvocates.org/communitycat-care-center/creating-winter-shelters.

Anyone who does suspect the abuse or neglect of any animal is asked to contact local law enforcement.  

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