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'It's just too cold': Edmonton peace officer warns about leaving pets outside, in vehicles


The weather outside is frightful, and as such, most drivers are leaving their pets at home.

But Merlin and Louise Badry’s Goldendoodle Maggie is riding with her owners in style.

The couple has an electric vehicle with a “pet mode” that keeps the vehicle at an ideal temperature when Maggie is left in the car.

“Whether it’s hot or cold we can set the car on dog mode and it maintains a certain temperature, winter or summer,” Merlin told CTV News Edmonton.

The vehicle also has a screen that lets people passing by know the temperature in the car, and that the pet is safe.

But City of Edmonton peace officers don’t recommend relying on technology when temperatures dip as low as they have been over recent days.

“I just worry that things could fail,” said peace officer Brianne Grey.

Grey said peace officers have responded to a multitude of animal welfare calls on Thursday and Friday after animals were left outside in the freezing temperatures.

“We responded to numerous calls yesterday for different breeds, everything from shepherds to staffies to small breed dogs outside shivering, shaking, lifting their paws, and really feeling the effects of the extreme cold weather we’re having,” Grey said.

Grey says pet owners in Alberta have a duty to provide shelter to animals in their care.

"The Animal Protection Act of Alberta states that any person who’s in care and control of an animal has to provide adequate shelter and protection from injury as cold. With these temperatures, injuries as cold would for sure come into play.”

In these temperatures, Grey says an outdoor shelter would have to be heated, insulated, and have straw inside, instead of blankets.

“It is just too cold for them to be outside without any type of protection whatsoever.”

The city is also encouraging residents to learn the signs of an animal in distress, so they can call for help before it's too late.

“When they’re outside, the shivering, shaking, and then another big one is if you start to see the snow build up on their feet and they’re really chewing at their feet.”

“Anything where it looks like the animal is physically suffering, that’s when we want citizens to call us,” Grey said.

The advice for animals in vehicles is similar.

“If they’re seeing signs of distress, not just barking, things like the shivering and shaking, then it would be best to call into the City of Edmonton through 311 and report the concern.”

Grey says the number of animal welfare calls received in cold weather is similar to the number received in summer months.

“In +30 C it’s as important for us to be having those animals have access to a shelter or not being in a vehicle just as its as big of a concern for us when its -30 C.”

The city said peace officers responded to 40 calls last month for animals in distress in a yard, and six so far in December.

According to Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, there were 230 calls about pets in vehicles in 2021.

From January to November of 2022, there have been 176 calls. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson and Evan Kenney. Top Stories

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