KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Animal advocates have increased their work in recent days to keep pets safe from the extreme cold the Kansas City metro is experiencing.
During her waking hours, Rae Lindsey with the Pet Resource Center of Kansas City, formerly Spay Neuter KC, is part of the team making dozens of house calls and stops around the metro daily.
"This is the worst winter I've seen in this field of work," Lindsey said. "It's the kind of thing that makes you lose sleep at night."
Pet Resource Center of Kansas City is delivering straw, treats and coats as part its community outreach that has ramped up since the temperatures plunged.
"The ground is icing over, so these dogs have, like, problems with their paw pads, kind of ripping open," Lindsey said.
Similar groups like The Rescue Project are making sure other pets don't suffer the same consequences. Their three teams have made 50 stops in the past week handing out crates, igloos and other resources to pet owners.
"A lot of them are willing to take the help, and they appreciate it very much," Melissa McMillin, The Rescue Project director of outreach, said. "Especially with COVID, a lot of people are on hard times and appreciate that we're out there."
Veterinarians said the breed of dog doesn't matter in this bitter cold – it's the thickness of their coat.
"Usually the smaller, the lighter hair coat, the less cold tolerant that animal's going be," Dr. Ryan Bragg, of BluePearl Specialty + Emergency Pet Hospital, said. "Whereas ... the husky is the poster child. It can probably be out there longer, but usually not more than five to 10 minutes."
The Great Plains SPCA has taken in 20 dogs during the arctic blast, including one pulled from a pond and covered in icicles with a dangerously low body temperature.
"I don't think people are trying to be cruel," Tam Singer, CEO of the Great Plains SPCA said. "I think they just don't realize that, you know, wolfs lives outside or a raccoon lives outside. It's not the same as a companion dog."
Advocates said if people see animals in the cold to report it immediately with an address and, if possible, take pictures.