How to help animals survive frigid temperatures

As bitter cold moves in, check out resources to help animals survive

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - With temperatures headed into the teens and single digits, people are worried about animals they see outside.

Louisville Metro Animal Services told WAVE 3 News they’ve been flooded with calls. And they hope the calls keep coming.

Whether it’s a call from a neighbor concerned about a dog in the cold, or listening to a slew of messages left overnight, the small staff at LMAS has its hands full when it’s freezing.

“We’ve got a lot of concerned citizens and we love those concerned citizens,” LMAS Director Ozzy Gibson said. “They are our eyes where we can’t be.”

They want to know if animals are in distress.

“They definitely need to give us a call or an email,” Gibson said.

For those who want to report an animal in need, include these details:

  • Address
  • Type of animal
  • How long it’s been out
  • Does it have any shelter? Is it a safe shelter?

If people don’t provide those details, staffers may waste time going on calls that don’t pan out while other animals are suffering.

WAVE 3 News went with a LMAS staffer on two calls Tuesday that were false alarms -- no animals outside.

Information is key to saving an animal’s life.

“We’ve found deceased dogs in the past that have been frozen right in the place,” LMAS Lieutenant Adam Hamilton said of the difficult reality.

Large animals should be in a barn with straw. Cats and dogs, especially older animals and short hair breeds, should be inside. If those animals have to be outside, their shelter needs a roof and straw bedding and people should continually change the water bowl.

“You need to go out and turn it over, put new water in it,” Gibson said.

Straw is free at the LMAS office on Manslick Road from noon to 6 p.m. now through Thursday (January 31) for cat and dog owners who have to keep pets in outdoor shelters.

The Arrow Fund and Southern States feed stores are partnering with the city for that free straw.

As for those who want to help feral cats in the cold? It’s easy to build a cat box with a plastic bin. Visit to see the steps.

For a do’s and don’ts list of protecting pets in the cold, click or tap here.

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