Dog showing ‘signs of distress’ during extreme cold seized from Mountain backyard

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A dog showing “signs of distress” was seized from a Mountain home Tuesday after police and animal services received reports of it whimpering and barking in the extreme cold.

No one answered the door when officers knocked, according to a statement from city spokesperson Marie Fitzpatrick, who said the animal was found in the backyard and removed using “Hamilton police authority under the OSPCA Act.”

The city was under an extreme cold warning at the time, with Environment Canada stating the wind chill could make it feel like –35 C.

A police spokesperson confirmed the service received reports of a whimpering dog left outside and responded Tuesday. 

Fitzpatrick added it’s not clear how long the dog was outside, but the decision to seize it was based on the “extreme temperatures.”

The animal was taken to Animal Services for the night where it has “recovered from its symptoms and is doing well.”

The dog’s owner was in contact with the shelter Wednesday and is “eager” to claim it, she added.

“Everyone should be aware that animals experience the cold in the same way humans do,” Fitzpatrick stated in an email. “Just because animals have a coat of fur does not mean they are immune to extreme temperatures.”

The city released this advice Thursday about keeping pets warm:

  • Pets shouldn’t stay in the car in the summer, and they shouldn’t be left in cars in the winter either. The car acts like a refrigerator, the city says, and the animal can freeze to death.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing a licence. They can easily become lost in snow as they can lose their scent.
  • Don’t leave pets alone outside in freezing temperatures for extended periods of time.
  • Cats, short-coated dogs and puppies are especially vulnerable to the cold.
  • Keep cats indoors and only take dogs for short walks.
  • Watch for distress signs when your dog is outside. That includes whining and acting anxious, shivering and seeming weak, having ice on his body, slowing down or not moving.
  • If you see roaming or wild animals in distress, call city animal services at 905-574-3433.
  • If you’re concerned about an animal on private property, called the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA at 905-574-7722 or Hamilton Police Service at 905-546-4925.
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