Cold temperatures lead to increase in welfare calls to animal control, officers may give citations

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- We’ve been getting calls and emails from FOX8 viewers concerned about pets they see outside in this frigid weather and lots of people are also frantically calling animal control.

Stokes, Forsyth, Davidson and Randolph counties have seen an increase in requests for welfare checks in the last few days. A lot of the people calling are concerned neighbors or people passing by, but just because they are concerned does not mean the pet owner is doing something illegal.

In places like Randolph and Davidson counties, pets are allowed to be outside as long as they have a shelter.

Animal control officers say you should still call about your concern because they may issue citations for other things, like frozen water bowls or any injuries.

Dr. John Canipe is a veterinarian and owner of Asheboro Animal Hospital. He says that owners should make an effort to warm up their dogs, even if they are usually outside.

“This is unusual weather for here so they can’t acclimatize to it,” Dr. Canipe said. “It’s not like the Huskies in Alaska that are used to it. The dogs around here don’t get the temperatures like that so they don’t grow the coat needed it to protect them from weather and temperatures this cold.”

Animal control officers can also get pet owners help from organizations like the Randolph County SPCA.

“People don’t want to see dogs laying on a cold floor, a cold yard or tied to something so they can’t find shelter,” said Jacqie Stansfield, a member of the Randolph County SPCA.

Stansfield said she’s received multiple calls in the last few days from concerned citizens. Those calls prompted the group to post on Facebook requesting donations for dog houses.

“What we would like to see is if we can’t bring them into the house, have dog houses,” Stansfield.

Right now, the SPCA only has four dog houses to give out but the need is expected to rise as the temperatures continue to plummet.

“I want to be able to tell them, 'Yes we can help,' but right not we do not have dog houses except four medium sizes to offer.” Stansfield said.

If you’d like to help and have a dog house in good condition, you can call the SPCA at (336) 672-1600. You can also call them if you are concerned about a pet outside.