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Cold weather prompts spike in calls to Animal Control for pets left outside

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Posted at 6:49 PM, Dec 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 20:49:46-05

SALT LAKE COUNTY – The cold temperatures are keeping Salt Lake County Animal Services busy, as their officers are responding to a high volume of calls about animals left in frigid conditions.

FOX 13 tagged along with Animal Control Officer Don Belnap as he made his rounds Thursday to see if people are keeping their pets warm during this cold snap.

Owners are required by law to provide shelter and water for their pets when they’re outside. For those who don’t comply, officers encourage them to be responsible pet owners.

“We like to work with people and educate them and give them an opportunity to get adequate shelter for them,” Belnap said.

Heidi Myers with the Humane Society of Utah encourages people to bring their pets indoors when it’s cold out.

“Anytime that you can't be outside in just a light jacket is way too cold for your pets,” Myers said.

Breeds with shorter hair can’t handle the elements like breeds with longer hair.

“Not only is there the concern of the animal being too cold and getting hypothermia, but also not having access to their water, which often times freezes over,” Myers said.

Experts said if you have to keep your pet outside, make sure there’s plenty of layers inside their shelter.

“Keep clean warm bedding in there, so check that when you're checking the water," Myers said. "Blankets are a great option, some people use straws as well."

If you see a neglected pet out in the cold, call their 24-Hour Dispatch line at 801-743-7045.