Animal welfare calls soar in Denver during weekend’s Arctic blast.

Denver Animal Protection received 150 calls over the frigid weekend about concerns for animals, with the majority of calls being made to report dogs being left out in the extreme cold.

Weekend weather in Denver was chilled by an Arctic blast, with daytime temperatures struggling to get into the single digits and overnight-low temperatures plunging below zero.

The extreme weather prompted many to call the city about “welfare investigations” related to dogs left out in the cold, said Kyle Wagner, a city spokeswoman.

“There were a lot of people calling in, and we followed up on those calls,” Wagner said.

By the numbers

Of the 101 “animal welfare” reports fielded from Friday through Sunday, 62 were about dogs being left outside and three were reports of dogs being left in freezing cold vehicles. The rest of the animal welfare calls were for reported strays, injured animals, and other forms of animal neglect.

The tips prompted animal control officers to seize eight dogs for the safety of the animals, Wagner said. Five dog owners received fines, and two people were ordered to make a future court appearance.

“Those were all related to the cold weather,” she said.

Fines could be up to $999, Wagner said.

Other weekend calls were for excessive barking, dogs attacking other dogs or cats, dogs off-leash and and other concerns, according to Wagner.

Educating pet owners about extreme weather

Animal protection officers responding to the welfare reports educate pet owners about the risks and dangers animals face when over exposed to extreme weather.

Some dog breeds, such as Alaskan Malamute or Siberian Husky, wouldn’t necessarily be harmed by long spells in sub-freezing temps. Still, Denver law says that a form of shelter, a dog house or structure off of the freezing ground that acts as an ideal wind break, must be available for an animal outdoors.

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In freezing cold weather, animals burn calories quicker and water bowls quickly freeze over, potential problems for all dogs, even cold-weather breeds, Wagner said.

All dog owners can follow a simple plan during the winter to protect their animals.

“You don’t want to leave your pet out in the extreme weather,” Wagner said. “They can freeze very quickly.”

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