Oklahoma’s recent cold snap has brought out plenty of concern for animals and their welfare on neighborhood social media pages and to the city’s animal welfare department.
Lows Monday and Tuesday dropped into the single digits, and it wasn’t much warmer in daylight hours.
“Please keep an eye out on those neighbors that leave their dogs out all the time,” one woman wrote on a popular OKC neighborhood app. “We know who they are as neighbors and please, if they don’t bring them in speak up and I’ll go over and see what I can do. It’s freezing outside!”
The Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Department received about 20 calls during the most recent cold snap from residents concerned about lack of shelter for dogs.
“It’s not a crazy amount,” animal welfare superintendent Jon Gary said. “Dogs with no shelter is a common complaint we get anytime there is extreme heat or cold. It’s not out of the question to get that number of calls when we’re hitting those times where there is extreme weather.”
Central Oklahoma Humane Society has seen an uptick in the number of moms with puppies, along with kittens, in recent weeks.
“Infant puppies and kittens are the most vulnerable population in cold weather, and while we are taking in as many litters form local shelters as possible, we are in need of fosters who are willing to provide a warm home for these moms and their babies,” Central OK Humane clinic manager Sandra Thomas said.
Gary said the city’s shelter is at about 400 animals, which is normal for this time of year. What’s not normal is the number of officers he has to work inadequate shelter complaints. The department is budgeted for 14 officers, but is operating at about half capacity.
The department has several new officers currently in training, but gets by with three to six most days.
“We get to every one of the calls but sometimes with our current staffing levels it takes some time,” he said. “And we’re also still dealing with calls that aren’t related to weather at all on top of it.”
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman’s sports…read more ›