Crews preparing KC pet owners before freezing conditions put furry friends at risk

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Keresa Hurst is on the lookout for unattended pets.

"I do it for the fur babies out here because they don't have no voice. A lot of people think, 'Thick coat, dog, oh they can deal with it.' No they can get hypothermia, frostbite, especially on the feet, the ears," the Kansas City animal health officer said.

AS FOX4 rode along with Hurst on Monday, it didn't take long for someone to call Kansas City's 311 action line to report possible animal cruelty.

"A large black German shepherd chained in the backyard. It's in a wire crate, unknown if there's food or water," the dispatcher radioed.

As she approached the home, she didn't like what she saw.

"All I saw was like trash for bedding. He should have straw in there," Hurst said.

Straw is just one of the supplies Spay and Neuter Kansas City is passing out as they also ride around town.

"We've got our dog houses ready. We've got straw. We've got everything we can to get these people the resources they need to get their pets inside or warm, whatever it takes," said Alicia Valenzuela, community engagement manager of Spay and Neuter Kansas City.

Hurst ended up leaving a card for the German shepherd's owner to call her immediately. With temperatures expected to dip even lower, Tuesday might be a different story.

"I will definitely check back tomorrow on this one. This is going to be my first priority," she said.

"If it's been out there for a while, we need to know. Call 311 so we can send animal health officers over. With the temperatures being this cold, there's little margin for error," said John Baccala with KC's Neighborhood and Housing Services.

If you spot an animal chained outside or left for sometime in Kansas City outside of 311's regular business hours, you can call the non-emergency police line at 816-234-5111.

Those interested in donating a dog house can visit Spay and Neuter Kansas City’s Amazon wish list to purchase a dog house and have it sent to the charity’s main location on 59th Street.

If you are interested in purchasing straw, Valenzuela suggested contacting Soil Service on Troost and pre-purchasing bales that the organization can pick up when needed.

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