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Local News

January 24, 2013

Local animal owners battle bitter freeze


"More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears her ID tags,” Murray said.

The Suffolk County SPCA said dogs that are sick, old, very young or short-haired are especially vulnerable to the bitter cold and should be taken out only to relieve themselves. If a dog frequently lifts its paws, whines or stops during its walk, it may need booties, the SPCA told the Associated Press. Frostbite can turn a pet's skin red, white, or gray and scaly, and if that happens, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately.

Under law, outdoor housing for dogs must have a waterproof roof, be structurally sound and have adequate insulation, according to the SPCA, which recommended keeping dogs and cats inside.

At Hunter’s Rein Stable in Otego, many horses are blanketed, depending on if the animal’s coat is clipped or if it needs to be cooled off after exercise, trainer Tammy Sousa said. Horses living outdoors have three-sided sheds for shelter, Sousa said.

"Horses technically are outdoor creatures,’’ said Sousa, who also is the equestrian coach at Hartwick College. "They get heavier coats in the winter.’’

Hunter’s Rein Stable has an indoor arena, Sousa said, and she continues to give riding lessons to advanced students when temperatures drop as low as 15 or 20 degrees. Students also have to dress appropriately for the weather, Sousa said.

"In all honestly, I don’t love the winter,’’ Sousa said. But humid, 95-degree weather wouldn’t be comfortable either, she said, and the focus is the horse's life. 

"I enjoy what I do’’ Sousa said. "It’s the nature of the beast.’’




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