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City of Kansas City, Mo.

CONTACT: Mary Charles, city communications officer, (816) 513-1356


Emergency cold weather warning issued to pet owners

The City of Kansas City, Mo.; Spay & Neuter Kansas City and Wayside Waifs have issued an extreme cold weather warning to all pet owners.

This warning is a reminder that pet owners are required to provide adequate shelter and warmth for their pets during the arctic blast that has gripped the area. If animals are found outside without adequate shelter from the elements, owners will be cited for animal cruelty. This offense carries a minimum fine of $250 and a maximum fine of $500 with 180 days in jail. If a pet owner cannot immediately bring an animal inside or take the animal to a place of safety, the animal will be impounded.

Spay & Neuter Kansas City has dog houses and hay available for those in need. Interested pet owners should call (816) 353-0940 for more information about this program. "Spay & Neuter Kansas City has several dog houses available to help protect pets in this weather,” said Michelle Dormady, president of Spay & Neuter Kansas City.

If pet owners are in need of emergency shelter for their animals, they are encouraged to call Wayside Waifs, Kansas City’s largest animal shelter. Wayside Waifs will provide temporary, emergency housing for pets at no cost to the owners beginning Thursday, Jan. 8.

“The brutal cold can be deadly for pets, and we don’t want any pet to needlessly suffer outside in these unbearable conditions,” said Patti Glass, president of Wayside Waifs. “Pet owners that have no other option can bring their pets to us, and know that they will be warm and well cared for until we get a break from the extreme cold,” Glass said.

Pet owners in need of emergency shelter for their animals should call Wayside Waifs at (816) 761-8151.

“There is no reason animals should be suffering during this extreme cold when options like this exist,” said Mike Schumacher, assistant to the director, City of Kansas City, Mo., Neighborhood and Community Services Department. “I encourage Kansas City residents to report any animals that are outside without adequate shelter to the City’s 3-1-1 Action Center, so that the situation can be addressed. Pet owners who leave their pets outside without adequate shelter in weather like this must be dealt with immediately,” Schumacher said.

Residents can contact the 3-1-1 Action Center, a division of the City Manager’s Office, at 311 or (816) 513-1313. Regular business hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Information also can be submitted to the 3-1-1 Action Center online at

Wayside Waifs and Spay & Neuter Kansas City offer the following cold weather tips for pet owners:

Winterize dog houses

    1. Dog house floors should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw.

    2. Insulation, such as straw or blankets will help keep in body heat. If animals have a tendency to chew, blankets or materials that can be ingested should not be used.

    3. Dog houses should be turned to face away from the wind, and doorways should be covered with flaps of heavy waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.

More cold weather advice

    1. Keep pets inside. Limitpets’ outsidetime for bathroom breaks during extreme cold temperatures. If it is too coldoutside for pet owners, it is too cold forpets also.If pets are normally kept outside, move them to sheltered garages or heated dog houses, away from the wind.

    2. Outdoor cats may seek refuge from the cold underneath the hoods of cars. When the car is started, the cat could become injured or even killed by moving parts of the engine.Owners of outdoor cats should honk car horns before starting their cars so cats can escape.

    3. Keep dogs on leashes in the winter weather. Pets can lose their scent in the snow and ice and find refuge in unfamiliar places.This also is a good opportunity for owners to checkdogs’ and cats’ identification tags to make sure the tags have their owners current contact information in case pets become lost or stolen.Microchipping of pets also is recommended.More dogs are lostduring the winter than any other time of the year.

    4. Whengetting pets groomed, don’t have them shaved down to the skin. Longercoats provide more warmth. Be sure to completely dry dogs after bathing before taking them outfor walks.Put short-haired breeds in warm sweaters with high collars that provide coverage from the base of their tails to their bellies.

    5. Keep dry towels near the door when bringing dogs in from the outdoors. Thoroughly dry their paws,legs and bellies.Animals canpick upbits of salt, antifreeze and other lethal chemicals from being outside. It also can be painful for animals to have shards of ice in their fur.Dogs’ paws can actually bleed from encrusted ice.This also is a good opportunity to give dogs some extra love and praise for good outdoor behavior.

    6. Never leave pets alone in vehicles. Vehicles can act as refrigerators, keeping the cold inside and causing pets to freeze to death.

    7. Increase food supplies for pets that spend lots of time playing outside. Include extra protein to help keep pets’ fur in great shape.

    8. Coolant and antifreeze are lethal for cats and dogs.Thoroughly clean any spills in garages and driveways.Avoid products containing ethylene glycol.If a pet should ingest any of these products, contact a veterinarian immediately.

    9. Rock salt is also dangerous for pets and can burn their paws.Instead, use pet-safe ice melt.

    10. Give pets warm places to sleep.Make sure beds are located away from doors and drafts, and provide warm blankets or large pillows.

Media inquiries about this issue should be directed to Mike Schumacher, assistant to the director, Neighborhood and Community Services Department, (816) 513-9075.


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