cold weather animal safety
During the winter, Camrose County can experience extremely cold conditions.
All animal owners, of livestock or pets, need to ensure their animals are properly cared for in severe weather.
Domestic Animals: It is not recommend to keep any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your pet inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds.
Livestock: can generally tolerate cold temperatures, but wind, rain, or snow will require a greater expenditure of calories. With that in mind, be sure they have a way to get out of the elements, especially the wind. Blankets can help protect horses, but a structural shelter with proper ventilation and dry bedding is the best method of protection for livestock. It is crucial that your herd consumes enough calories to heat themselves and has access to fresh and unfrozen water. Tank heaters or heated buckets can help keep water at a temperature your animals are more comfortable drinking. Livestock will not consume adequate amounts of water if it is near freezing, and consuming enough water is important to your animals' health and well-being in winter months.
Under the Animal Protection Act:
Section 2(1) No person shall cause or permit an animal of which the person is the owner or the person in charge to be or to continue be in be in distress.
Section 2.1 – A person who owns or is in charge of an animal
- must ensure that the animal has adequate food and water,
- must provide the animal with adequate care when the animal is wounded or ill,
- must provide the animal with reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold, and
- must provide the animal with adequate shelter, ventilation and space.
*Animal owners in violation of any of the above legislation, can possibly face fines and seizure of their animals.
Camrose County Officers urge the public to please contact Law Enforcement if they observe any animals in distress (Camrose County Protective Services 780-672-4449). The role of the County Officers in a situation of animal distress would be to enforce the Animal Protection Act, which would include educating the animal owner on their responsibilities to care for their animals in cold weather situations. Unfortunately, the Officers and Camrose County do not have the means or facilities to catch or care for stray cats. The local shelter capacity is very limited as well. Camrose County has a contract with Old MacDonald Kennels to deal with stray dog complaints in the County, but unfortunately this doesn't apply to cats.