ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – City of St. Louis Animal Care and Control (ACC) is urging residents to consider the safety of pets during cold weather. Extreme low temperatures are dangerous to companion animals, such as dogs and cats, and pets should not be exposed to extreme low temperatures for extended periods of time.

In a City of St. Louis Department of Health news release, officials explain that if kept outdoors, animals are required to have access adequate shelter, food and water. ACC is encouraging citizens to be especially mindful of their pet’s water source, as water will freeze in these temperatures. Sufficient shelter is defined as a cover or protection from the elements containing adequate and appropriate bedding such as straw, hay, or wood shavings, which is small enough to allow the dog or cat to retain its body heat but is large enough to allow the animal to stand, turn around, and lie down.

Failure to provide proper shelter and care for pets in extreme temperatures could be prosecuted as cruelty to animals. Animal Care and Control Officers will be patrolling to ensure the safety of pets.

Through the “Free Straw for Warm Paws” program, Operation SPOT has made free straw available for pick up at the ACC shelter between 8:00am-5:00pm seven days a week, located at 2801 Clark Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103. This straw can be used as bedding for dog houses and other companion animal shelters. Dog houses may be available upon request.

If an animal appears to be in distress or is unresponsive, you are encouraged to contact ACC immediately at 314-657-1500. If calling after hours, please call 911.

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