San Antonio Animal Care Services Responds to Influx of Animal Neglect Calls Amid Heat Wave

The heatwave continues to plague San Antonio well into August – the hottest month of the year – and one of the consequences of such heat is felt and seen among the city’s animal facilities.

For instance, Animal care services and several animal shelters report that they fill up quickly and have had to euthanize animals due to an influx of abandoned animals and the inability of staff to place them in new homes.

The ACS has published a list of animals it considers to be at immediate risk for euthanasia. It serves as the final notice to the public to adopt the animals before the procedure.

This month, ACS partnered with Clean the shelters to save as many dogs and cats as possible. Adoption fees have been reduced to $20 for pets four and under, and waived for pets five and over.

But the most immediate crisis is not what happens to animals without owners. This is what happens to animals with owners.

Lisa Norwood, public relations and outreach manager at ACS, said the office reports a steady stream of calls reporting animal neglect.

“This year we’ve had about 1,200 to 1,250 service calls, specifically telling us that they thought a pet they saw was being neglected,” she explained.

Norwood said animal neglect can include not giving your pet food, water, shelter or shade. She added that owners should regularly make sure their pets have fresh water and keep the water in the shade.

How can a pet owner make sure the pet doesn’t accidentally tip over that water bowl?

“First, if you’re using a bucket, be sure to carabiner the handle of the bucket (or) tie it to something stable to prevent that bucket from tipping over,” Norwood said. She added that the pet owner could also dig a shallow space in the dirt and stabilize the water tank there.

Norwood also wants pet owners to pay attention to the quality of shelter for their pets.

“A shelter is defined as three walls, a raised floor, a roof, and then an opening that the animal can go in and out of and still have room to move around inside. That’s what a legally defined shelter. She explained. She said that the shaded shelter must be constant throughout the day.

Sometimes pet owners don’t want to keep their pets at home. But it creates different problems and risks for the animal’s health.

One of the biggest mistakes they make is leaving their pets locked in cars with no air conditioning or putting them in the back of a van.

“It’s illegal not only to keep them in your car, but to drive them unsafely in the back of your van,” she explained. “And so they face the same risk of heatstroke in the back of their van as when locked inside a vehicle.”

She asked the public to always consider whether it is necessary to take pets on road trips or on errands that would require them to leave their pets in cars or out in the sun.

“Unfortunately these are things we see and these are examples we have seen where pets have been left inside vehicles, in stores, in malls, in grocery stores, in our parks local themes. And they died as a result,” she said.

Dogs still need to be walked. But the heat can make it dangerous. When it’s time to take the dog for a walk, how can the owner assess whether it’s too hot for the dog?

Dr. Maria Gonzales, a veterinarian at Pets First Veterinary Center, pointed to the heat index.

“Our kind of rule of thumb for the heat index is basically you take the temperature, you add the humidity, and if it’s over 150, it’s way too hot for them to exercise for. some dogs or just a simple walk around the block,” she explained.

The ACS asked the public to report any animal abuse by calling 3-1-1.

Benjamin M. Yerger