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Mild winter has kept Alberta Animal Services busy

Complaints usually fall along with temperatures

Mild temperatures have led to an unseasonably busy time for Alberta Animal Services.

“With the warm temperatures things definitely have not slowed down at all this winter,” said Alberta Animal Services director of operations Duane Thomas on Wednesday.

“It’s definitely a lot busier than it has been in the past with regards to complaint volumes and things like that.”

In a usual central Alberta winter, complaints about barking dogs or pets roaming free typically go down as humans and pets hunker down in their homes when temperatures fall and the snow flies.

That has not been the case this year, where above-normal temperatures have been the weather story for months.

“We just want to make sure the public is being diligent and making sure that their animals are properly contained if they are leaving them at home so they don’t get out,” said Thomas.

He recommends pet owners check their gates to make sure ice or snow has not built up preventing them from closing properly.

Alberta Animal Services also reminds people who find a stray or lost dog to notify them at 403-347-2388. After hours, leave a message and someone will return the call and make arrangements to pick up the animal.

Uninjured stray dogs should not be dropped off at pet clinics, such as Cedarwood Veterinary and Animal Emergency Hospital. Local pet clinics are not designed as holding facilities for Animal Services, which has large kennel facilities for strays.

“We’ve had a problem with regards to citizens bringing in stray animals into the vet clinics that are not actually injured,” he said.

“The vet clinics are getting overloaded with these dogs that they are not even required to take in because they are not injured. We’re just trying to avoid that as much as we can.

“We get a lot of animals that are picked up that have maybe old injuries or something that does not need to be medically cared for right away.

“Definitely, if it’s injured or sick, 100 per cent they can take them into the vet clinics.”

People coming across injured animals should contact Animal Services before taking them to the vets.

“That way we can notify whatever clinic it’s going to that there is an injured animal being brought in so that we’re up to date on what’s going on with it.”

Pet owners are also reminded that the start of the new year means it is time to license their dogs again. Dogs can be registered at City Hall or online, Alberta Animal Services office at 4640 61st St.,or at Central Alberta Humane Society, 4505 77th St.

Licences for spayed or neutered dogs cost $36.15 or $77.60 for unaltered dogs. Replacement dog tags cost $13.90.

Alberta Animal Services is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and an officer is on call seven days a week until 9 p.m. to handle emergencies. If leaving a message provide name, phone number and address along with details about where the animal was found.

A portion of registration fees goes towards a spay and neutering program that begins next month. Those who have registered their dogs can apply to have them spayed or neutered for free.

Pet owners are also reminded that Alberta Animal Services does not accept surrenders. Those who provide false information about a pet they are dropping off can face a violation penalty.

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