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Animals freezing to death as polar vortex blast the United States

Marion County, TN. Dogs were found frozen to death inside their cages. This dog froze to death as it was trying to chew its way out of the wire cage.
Marion County, TN. Dogs were found frozen to death inside their cages. This dog froze to death as it was trying to chew its way out of the wire cage.The Marion Animal Resource Connection

As a "polar vortex" descended onto much of the U.S., and according to the Telegraph, 140 million Americans will face subzero weather as freezing air from the North Pole brings the coldest temperatures in two decades. The hardest hit is the animals that are left outside without adequate shelter to shield them from the intense chill factor. The animals are freezing to death while their owners are warm and comfortable inside their homes.

Hard freeze warnings for Today extended all the way south to the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, while the entire northeast quarter of the country is under a wind chill warning
Hard freeze warnings for Today extended all the way south to the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, while the entire northeast quarter of the country is under a wind chill warning The Weather Channel

In Marion County, TN. near Whitwell, dogs were found frozen to death inside their cages. The Marion Animal Resource Connection (MARC) took a picture of one dog that froze to death as it was trying to chew its way out of the wire cage that imprisoned it.

In Sprakers, NY, WNYT News Channel 13 covered the story of the Flat Creek Border Collies kennel, where dogs were found frozen to death, and one dog even appeared to be frozen to the ground and unable to move. When the police were called out to the property, they told the concerned citizens there was nothing they could do. The Lexus Project was contacted and they quickly found a judge who signed an order to show cause. This means the dogs maybe removed from the custody of Kathy Weich the kennel owner, if the remaining dogs are found to have been abused or neglected. The hearing is set for later this afternoon.

Hard freeze warnings for Today extended all the way south to the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, while the entire northeast quarter of the country is under a wind chill warning — with some perceived temperatures forecast to hit 50-below in North Dakota and Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service.

Human flesh freezes in less than five minutes at that temperature, the weather service warned.

Kathy Hecker, humane investigations officer for Animal Friends stated, “Despite having fur coats, domesticated animals like dogs, cats and rabbits depend on humans for protection from the elements.”

Hecker also asked to consider the following cold weather safety tips for pets:

  • Do not leave pets unattended when the temperature drops below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit)Low temperatures, winds and precipitation can lead to illness, hypothermia and death. Dogs, cats, rabbits or any domesticated pet can suffer from frostbite in a matter of minutes, mainly on feet, ears and tails.
  • Signs of hypothermia include: weak pulse, dilated pupils, decreased heart rate, extreme shivering, pale or blue mucus membranes, stupor and unconsciousness. If you believe your pet is suffering from hypothermia, call your veterinarian immediately.
  • The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.
  • Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
  • Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
  • Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
  • If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type (small or short-haired), take them outdoors only long enough to relieve themselves. Puppies do not tolerate cold as well as adult dogs.
  • Feral and outdoor cats need to stay warm as well! Because blankets, towels and pillows can get wet and freeze, straw is the best insulation against the cold and weather.

Update: The Lexus Project released this statement:

All but 4 adult dogs have been removed as of today. The 4 that are remaining have proper, insulated kennels and all other provisions that have been inspected.

The puppies have all been moved inside and cannot go back out in the day unless it is over 32 degrees and in the evenings unless it is over 45 degrees.

All the dogs that were removed will be returned when all the provisions that were agreed upon in court are done and inspected. There will be continued inspections.

"We return to court on January 21 to see where things stand and where we go from here. Today was the emergency hearing; January 21 is the return date."

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