ITHACA, N.Y. — With the local forecast predicting temperatures and wind chills below zero, it’s extremely important to make sure that your furry friends are staying safe and warm. In recent weeks the SPCA of Tompkins County and Tompkins County Animal Control have seen an marked increase in calls regarding pets that may be at risk in the extreme weather.
We strongly recommend that you bring any “outdoor pets” inside your home or heated structure
immediately during any period of extended cold. Rest assured, any animal that is found to be without
access to shelter in these extreme situations will be seized and the owners charged for a violation of NYS
If you see an animal without shelter or questionable shelter, please contact our Field Services Department at 607-592-6773 to report the situation and our investigators will respond.
We have provided some safety tips below so that pet parents can keep animals healthy and happy as
temperatures drop and the snow piles up.
• Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent in the snow and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure your dog always wears an ID tag.
• If your large dog spends most of his time outside, take proper precautions during the colder months. Make sure your dog has an insulated and waterproof dog house and access to fresh water. Never leave your dog outside during a snowstorm or inclement weather including sleet, ice, snow, wind, or extreme cold.
• Bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting the engine. Outdoor, stray and feral cats
sometimes sleep under car hoods to stay warm, but the fan belt can injure or kill a cat when the motor
starts. Banging on the hood can help avoid catastrophe and give the cat a chance to escape.
• Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes.
• Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to
recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
• Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more
during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of
water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
The mission of the SPCA of Tompkins County is to protect companion animals. We are a no-kill shelter
dedicated to preventing animal cruelty and overpopulation. We promote responsible pet stewardship by
providing education, counseling and training to nurture and enhance the human-animal bond.
The Dorothy and Roy Park Pet Adoption Center is open for adoptions every day except Wednesday
from Noon – 5:00 PM and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from Noon – 7:00 PM. The SPCA Annex
at The Shops at Ithaca Mall is open Monday through Saturday 11:00 AM. – 7:00 PM and
Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
Featured photo courtesy of the Tompkins County SPCA Facebook page