Most of us will thankfully never have to experience what it feels like to sleep out in the freezing cold with little or no shelter—no one ever should, including dogs.
But the reality is, many dog owners either don’t care or don’t realize that their dog can die if left out overnight in freezing weather, says officers with Saginaw County Animal Control in Michigan.
“I think a lot times people think just because they’re a dog or a cat and they have fur that they’re able to endure the cold and extreme weathers that are out there,” animal control officer Joaquin Guerrero said in a video.
“But they’re not educated for the summer weather, the fall, the spring, the winter, and we run into these problems,” Guerrero told ABC 12 News.
And with many dogs freezing to death in recent days with the spell of cold weather, he and two of his fellow officers have decided to take a stand and raise awareness in a new and innovative way.
On January 12 starting at 6 p.m., the animal control officers will be spending the night outside in the freezing cold—in a dog house.
Tricia Barnes and Dads, dog houses
Two of the officers will have shelter in the form of dog houses made by prisoners at the Saginaw Correctional Facility. These houses will have nothing but a bit of straw inside.
“It’ll fit to our body size so we’re able to crawl in and sit down in them,” Officer Guerrero said.
Guerrero won’t be able to do much else though as he’ll be on a chain to simulate what many dogs have to go through in the winter months.
“They’re stuck there, they can’t move, they can’t let their natural instincts kick in for them,” Guerrero explained.
The third officer is even less lucky, though. He’ll be provided with no shelter at all!
“I’m doing it to show what it’s like for the animals that do not have any shelter at all,” said Officer Anthony Trevino in a video.
The officers won’t be completely alone on this project though.
They’ll have kids from Hemmeter Elementary School monitoring their body temperatures and comfort as part of a school project.
Guerrero will also be accompanied by his 16-week-old German Shepherd, Little Chief.
Yet, not wanting to subject children or puppies to freezing temperatures, they’ll be given proper shelter for the night at the Apple Mountain Golf Course, which is hosting the event.
Community members are welcome to stop by as well, although Guerrero said that the whole night will be Facebook Live-streamed for those who don’t want to go out in freezing temperatures.
Guerrero hopes that many people will watch and show support for their animal friends.
“We’ve got to be that voice for them. We’ve got to help them so it doesn’t happen, so we don’t find these animals frozen,” Guerrero said.
“We can’t save them all, but the ones we can save, or the awareness we can bring, that just keeps educating more people and more people.”
It is is too cold for you- it is too cold for your pet. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. #WinterSafety #pets pic.twitter.com/Ytlg7JsjtU
— Stuart Police Dept. (@cityofstuart) January 3, 2018
The event will last until 8 a.m. on January 13. There they’ll be taking donations for the Saginaw County Animal Care Center. This money will go to caring for the animals, so it’s a good cause all around.
Medical staff will be there too to make sure the officers make it through the night alright, but hopefully they won’t need the medical assistance.
“My goal, my personal goal is to make it through the night,” Guerrero told ABC12 News.
Fellow officer Tricia Barnes thinks she probably won’t survive the whole night outside.
“I’m going to go inside, I’m not going to freeze to death!” she said in a video, knowing that that’s a choice the pets they are try to help don’t get to make.
“I just want to be able to experience what it’s like and then be able to educate other people so they can understand what it’s like. Hopefully we can touch a lot of people doing this.”
Find out more about the event in the video below:
Posted by Sara Byrne on Friday, January 5, 2018