BC SPCA reminds pet owners not to leave their animals outside in the cold

If it’s too cold for you outside, it’s likely too cold for your pet, too.

The BC SPCA is reminding pet owners not to keep their animals outdoors in winter following a tragic case of animal cruelty.

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Three cats died during the weekend in South Okanagan after being left in the cold in the back of an open truck in a wire crate. The RCMP discovered the animals after receiving a complaint about five cats that had been abandoned in the vehicle.

The SPCA said when officers attended the scene, one of the cats was deceased and the other four were living in their own feces and urine. Officers estimated the cats had been trapped for about two months. SPCA animal protection officers rescued the animals but sadly only two cats survived the horrible ordeal. There was one healthy cat, Kasey, and a very sick cat, Raffi, who will need extensive care to recover. (Here’s more about Raffi.)

Following the incident, the SPCA sent out a warning strongly recommending that animals be kept indoors during cold winter weather or that pet owners ensure they have the proper protection against the elements.

“This time of year we see a sharp increase in the number of calls about domestic and farm animals who are distress in outdoor situations,” said Eileen Drever, senior officer BC SPCA protection and stakeholder relations.

“One of the most common situations we encounter is dogs who are tethered outdoors in sub-zero temperatures. Animals are safest indoors, but if you must keep an animal outside, ensure shelter is off the ground, insulated from the cold and drinking water is not frozen.”

Tips to keep animals safe in winter

While the BC SPCA is opposed to keeping animals permanently outdoors, it does acknowledge some people still house their dogs in this manner, so it has offered tips on how to keep pets safe:

  • The animal must have shelter protecting them from cold, windy, and damp conditions; the protection must be appropriate to their weight and coat.
  • The shelter provided should also be elevated, insulated, and regularly cleaned.
  • You should also ensure your four-legged friend has enough clean, potable drinking water that has not frozen over.
  • If you happen to have stray and community cats living nearby, there are also a number of ways to keep them safe this winter.

Find more tips on cold weather safety on the BC SPCA website or if you suspect an animal in distress, call 1-855-622-7722.

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