Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Be aware this winter

Winter is almost here and has the potential to bring with it freezing temperatures, ice and maybe even snow.  Some of you in the US have already experienced some very heavy snow so if anything this post is a little late in coming...

Although us humans can turn the heating up and put on our woollies, animals can’t and depend on us to keep them warm and safe.  Some animals are kept outside and left to face the brunt of the weather.  

Last year I was dismayed to come across a young Staffie who was forever kept outside despite the bad weather, I was alerted to her plight by the heart rendering whimpering I would hear as I walked past.  I kept a diary of the times she was left outside and for how long and reported all of this to the RSPCA so they could take the necessary actions.

If you come across an animal suffering this winter (or any other time for that matter) here are some tips of how to respond to the situation:

  • Be aware, when you are out and about this winter pay attention to your surroundings and actively look for animals who may need your help.
  • If you notice any animals outside, make a mental note of approximately how long they have been out there.  Keep the number of the RSPCA or equivalent on your mobile phone just in case. 
  • Observe, take notes of the type of animal, the behaviour of the animal (i.e. whether he or she is unwell, crying or displaying any distressed behaviour) and the conditions he or she is subjected to.  It is a good idea to keep a diary including time, date, location and describe as much as you can.
  • Evidence, gather evidence such as photographs or even recorded evidence.  When I telephoned the RSPCA on one occasion they could hear the dog crying in the background.  If you do hear a dog repeatedly barking then make a complaint, barking can indicate a lonely or neglected dog.
  • Perseverance, sometimes animal organisations can’t take action straight away.  This could be due to being short staffed or not having enough evidence to act.  Keep gathering evidence and telephoning and updating them on the situation as this is likely to assist in making it a higher priority for them.  Don’t give up.
  • Do everything you can, within the law.  Although it might be tempting to break into someone’s garden and rescue the animal yourself it is not the best thing to do for you or the animal.  If you get caught you will be in serious trouble and then who will be there to help the animal?  Also, you don’t know how the animal is going to react to you entering their territory – when I tried to get close to the dog we were trying to help she got very upset and began to bark which could have got us both into trouble.  I did give her some food, visited her when I could and took Suki to visit her as well.  We also gave her a raw hide bone to chew for something to do.  I did consider paying a visit to the owners or even writing them a letter but this could have also back fired and enraged them enough to take it out on the animal so I left it to the RSPCA.
If you are in the UK then RSPCA's Cruelty Line is 0300 1234 999

If you are in the US then Contact ASPCA

For some further advice on how to help animals this winter consider signing up for PETA’s pledge to help companion animals this winter.  Upon signing this you will receive tips on how to help animals in your community during the cold weather season.

Check out blog 4 The Love of Animals for 5 Sure-Fire Ways to Protect Your Pet from the Ice this Winter.

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