More animals in distress as temperatures continue to be in the triple digits

Oklahoma City Animal Welfare says it has responded to more than double the cruelty calls from June to July. Cruelty calls include heat-related incidents.
BY LEIGHANNE MANWARREN Staff Writer lmanwarren@opubco.com Published: August 3, 2012
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Oklahoma City officials ask pet owners to remember their animals as temperatures continue to match and break heat records.

Thursday's high temperature of 112 set a record for Aug. 2 in Oklahoma City. The previous maximum temperature on Aug. 2 was 110 degrees in 1980.

That also put Thursday in a three-way tie with Wednesday and Aug. 10, 1936, for the city's second-highest temperature on any date. Records date to 1891.

The record high temperature is 113 degrees, set Aug. 11, 1936.

Oklahoma City Animal Welfare workers have seen a “dramatic” increase in cruelty calls, which include heat-related incidents, from June to July, Superintendent Catherine English said.

Animal Welfare's two cruelty investigators responded to about 41 calls each day in June compared to 99 calls each day in July, English said.

She has added eight hours in overtime to each investigator's week to keep up with the volume of calls.

“A lot of times, it is just a matter of educating the owner on how they can provide a better water source for the animal or a sturdier one,” English said.

Just putting a bowl of water out isn't sufficient because “between evaporation or the dog tipping it over, the animal is out of water,” English said.

Most cruelty calls are about dogs in yards, followed by livestock. This year, investigators also have responded to a few calls pertaining to animals in cars, English said.

Since cats are more mobile outdoors, Animal Welfare rarely gets calls about cats in heat-distress.

Dangerous situation

“We will issue citations and we will confiscate animals. We will charge people with cruelty,” English said. “This is a very dangerous time, and we have picked up dead animals that didn't make it through the day. People go to work and they think everything is fine, then they come home and it's not.”

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