WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita Animal Control officers said they have experienced a spike in neglect calls. They said it’s primarily due to the cold weather.
“During the winter, especially since we had this snow and everything come in, we have been flooded with concerned citizens and these animals,” said Wichita Animal Control Officer Christian Boyd.
Boyd said on an average winter day his department will field between 15 and 20 calls related to animals in cold weather conditions. He said most of them are neglect calls, meaning a pet may be without food, water or shelter.
On Tuesday, animal control officers received about 30 neglect calls. KSN rode along with Officer Boyd as he responded to two of the calls.
At the first stop, Boyd and his partner knocked on the owner’s door. No one was home, so the officers took a look around the property. They found a good-size dog in the backyard of the residence.
“There’s a huge dog house and there is a bucket of something on the porch,” Boyd told his partner on scene.
Boyd then made contact with the dog through the owner’s fence. He and his partner took a few pictures of the animal, its shelter and its water bowl. They determined the dog was not in danger and put a notice on the owner’s front door saying they had stopped by.
Boyd said often times neighbors will call in what they believe to be animals in distress, when they are indeed OK and properly cared for. He said some bigger dogs actually enjoy the cold weather.
“We will get to some calls where the dogs don’t want to use the dog house. They will stand on top of it,” he said.
KSN then followed Boyd to his next neglect call in south Wichita.
Boyd and his partner made contact with the owner of the home and explained they had gotten a complaint saying her animals were without the proper shelter, food or water.
The owner, who KSN is not identifying, explained her situation to the officers as they made contact with one of her four animals in the backyard. Boyd said the owner did not have a shelter for each of her four dogs. He said she also did not have the correct permit to house all four of the animals.
“We always work with people in those situations,” Boyd said.
Instead of issuing a citation to the owner, Boyd and his partner educated her about how to keep her animals safe in the winter weather. They also gave her the permit paperwork to fill out to be in compliance with city ordinance.
Boyd said the most important thing to keep in mind during the winter months is pet safety.
“Keep your animal inside, keep it in the heated garage or at least the bare minimum provide it with an adequate shelter,” he said.