KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Our pets can’t always escape the cold, especially when they’re forced outside.
Kansas City Pet Project officers are out and about, searching for cases of animal abuse in the frigid weather.
Temperatures on Thursday dove well below zero, and Thursday night’s low is -8.
The misery of suffering animals takes Evan Ladue to the streets, even in the bitter cold. Ladue is a KC Pet Project officer assigned to respond to calls concerning animals left outdoors when the temperature is extremely low. On Thursday, Ladue and his dispatchers received 50 calls for help.
“It can quickly become bad, especially frostbite,” Ladue said.
That appears to be what Ladue spotted at one east Kansas City address. The owner of five beagle-style hounds told Ladue his dogs usually stay out back of the house, but it’s too cold for that.
Dogs could be seen limping in pain from the frigid ground they have to walk on. Ladue issued that owner a citation that comes with a fine, and made him bring the dogs indoors.
Officers also plan to keep an eye on that house, and at other sites where citations have been issued.
“We’re not there to tell them they’re bad owners or anything like that. We’re there to educate them, supply resources, and if necessary, we are still the enforcement for Kansas City, Missouri when it comes to animal ordinances.”
Ladue said some owners simply don’t know any better. He recommends pet owners bring their animals indoors when it’s below 32 degrees. Tori Fugate, KC Pet Project’s spokesperson, said officers are also carrying goods that can help animal owners.
“We’ve been giving out crates so that people, if they don’t have a place to put their animal, they can put their dog in a crate to keep them out of the elements,” Fugate said.
In cases that are bad enough, enforcement officers can get an expedited warrant from a judge to take possession of abused animals. That process can go even faster in extreme weather, which can help get animals to safety in a hurry.
KC Pet Project can be alerted to animal-related concerns in Kansas City, Missouri by calling 311 or by sending a message to the animal welfare agency’s website.