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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: January 6, 2014


DOVER (Jan. 6, 2014) - As temperatures plummet throughout our region, it's important to remember that pets, just like people, can suffer from frostbite, hypothermia, and other life-threatening injuries. The Division of Public Health Office of Animal Welfare reminds you to protect your pet from the cold. Even long-haired cats and dogs or breeds that are known for tolerance to cold weather should be protected.

"Tolerance to cold weather depends on a number of factors, not just breed," said Hetti Brown, Director of the Delaware Office of Animal Welfare, "Since the weather in Delaware is typically moderate, even breeds that may have originally been bred for cold temperatures, like huskies, are not used to low temperatures. Pet owners should take precautions regardless of the pet's breed or acclimation to the outdoors. A good rule of thumb is that if it's too cold for a person to be outside for a prolonged period of time then it's too cold for an animal."

The Office of Animal Welfare offers the following tips for keeping pets safe and warm in cold temperatures:

If you see a pet that has been left outdoors in cold temperatures without proper shelter or protection from the elements, food, or water, report it immediately to an animal control agency. City of Wilmington residents should call the Delaware SPCA at 302-998-2281 and all other Delaware residents can call First State Animal Center and SPCA at 302-943-6032. These situations are life-threatening and should be addressed immediately.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.