Dear Editor:

Your commitment to keep your pets warm during cold weather can save their lives and eliminate a great deal of unnecessary suffering. Puppies and kittens, small animals, and short haired dogs are very susceptible to the elements and would benefit if a cozy sweater was put on them.

If you don't want animals in the house, provide them with proper shelter. Doghouses should be made of wood or plastic and NOT metal because it conducts cold. Try to place the shelter in a sunny location during the cold weather (and shade in the summer). Raise it several inches off the ground and add a flap over the door to keep the wind and drafts out. Straw is excellent for bedding as rugs and blankets get dirty, wet and can freeze.

Cats sometimes climb under the hoods of cars to be near warm engines and can be terribly injured when the car is started. When you are getting ready to go somewhere, bang on the hood. Remember too that spilled anti-freeze is deadly. Animals can become confused and disoriented when there is snow and ice on the ground.

Clean off the paws, legs and stomach when they come in from the snow. Salt and other chemicals will be licked off and be absorbed by their systems when they clean themselves.

Make sure that there is a fresh source of water such as in a bucket or large bowl to prevent tipping. Break the ice at least twice daily if it freezes.

If you see neglect or abuse, take photos and write down all the details, date, time, what is happening, etc. Call your local humane society or animal control to report it. And remember dogs who bark and bark are lonely. Volunteer to walk them or play with them.

Elgrit B. Russell

Brodheadsville

Rescue Coordinator

The Animal Defenders