Keeping pets safe during the excessive heat warning this week is not just common sense. It is also the law.
Officer, Ranger Fox, said there is a new city code designed to help our furry friends weather the heat. All O’Fallon animal control officers have copies available for the public or it can be found on the city website.
According to the O’Fallon Municipal Code 210.040, "an owner may not leave an animal outside and unattended in the case of severe weather conditions, during weather or when a heat advisory or cold advisory has been issued by a local or state authority or jurisdiction, or where temperatures and/or heat and cold indices fall below thirty-two degrees fahrenheit (32°F) or above eighty-five degrees (85°)."
Fox explained that the code prevents owners from tethering animals unattended for more than 15 minutes when there are extreme temperatures. This does not include walking an animal or keeping the animal outside while people are present.
The animal control officers will review any complaints on a case by case basis to determine if the animal’s welfare is in jeopardy. Fox emphasized that if somebody feels an animal is in danger during the heat or at any other time, they should contact the O’Fallon Police Department. The inquiry can be made anonymously and can save an animal’s life.
For other ways to keep pets safe during the summer months, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has some additional summer guidelines:
- During the spring or early summer, take your pet to the veterinarian for a checkup and test for heartworms, if the pet is not on preventative heartworm medication.
- Provide fresh, clean water for pets at all times, both indoors and outdoors.
- Provide some shade for pets to find respite from the sunlight.
- Do not over-exercise pets in extreme heat conditions.
- Keep pets off of hot asphalt to prevent burnt paws.
- Never leave a pet in the car unattended for even a few minutes. The temperature inside a closed car can reach temperatures well above 100° within a matter of minutes.
- Do not allow pets to drink water from salt pools or chlorine pools. Both can cause gastric irritations to the animal.
- Give your pet a short, “summer” cut to help keep cool.
- Comb or brush animals frequently during the summer months.
- Ensure that any sunscreen or insect repellant used on an animal is specifically marked for use on animals.
- Rinse off pets after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from their coat.
- Remember that shorter fur could mean that exposed skin can burn. Sunburn is not just a human issue – it can affect animals also.
- Elderly or overweight animals should remain indoors during excessive heat.
- Watch for signs of overheating, which include excessive panting, increased heart and respiration rate, excessive drooling, lethargy, weakness or seizures.
Remember, if it is uncomfortably hot for a human, chances are, it is for your four-legged friend, also.