The winter months can be difficult on most of us at the best of times for various reasons, and that same struggle is one shared by your pets.  

Judy Hughes, a co-cat coordinator with Portage Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), articulates her thoughts on keeping animals safe throughout the depths of winter.  

"If you're cold outside, then your animals are certainly cold, and cats particularly are very prone to frostbite in their ears and their tail, and if frozen, they will actually lose the tips or even more than just the tips of their ears. so, it's important that cats are not allowed outside in the winter at all."   

Hughes carries on to give advice for man's best friend and how to keep them as healthy as possible during the dreaded winter months.  

"Dogs need to be monitored for their time outside; some dogs, very heavy-coated dogs, do quite well out in the winter. If they have an insulated shelter or a warm shed or garage or somewhere they can go into, but most breeds need to be not left laying outside tide up or laying in the snow. They should have boots and coats on if you're walking them, and something to be aware of is, if you're walking them on the roads where there's been gravel and salt, that can get into the dog's feet and then when they lick their feet to clean them, they're ingesting that salt. So, it's a good idea to wash your dog's feet after you've been out walking, particularly if you're walking on roads that have been salted than that before."  

Hughes mentions a few bylaws that pet owners and citizens should be aware of in regards to animals.  

"We'd like to bring attention to the city animal bylaws in that cats and dogs are not allowed to roam at all, and there's a limit of four pets per household. We seem to have a real serious problem with cats being out roaming and then being picked up by animal control and nobody claiming them."  

The shelters' co-cat coordinator says that a big problem with animals roaming is that some owners are neglecting their responsibility to spay and neuter their cats and dogs, leaving Portage with an abundance of seemingly unwanted animals.  

She closes out the conversation by giving resources for citizens who see neglected animals.   

"You may also witness some abuse of an animal in which an animal is being physically abused or left outside for long extended periods in the winter, lacking food or water, there is an animal abuse line that can be called. It's strictly confidential and anonymous, and your concerns will be addressed. There are two numbers 1-204-945-8000 or a toll-free number 1-888-945-8001."