From an APNM press release

Winter weather is hitting New Mexico with snow, ice and dangerously cold temps this week. At least three people have been killed in weather-related accidents and many more are suffering in the bitter cold.

Animal Protection New Mexico urges New Mexicans not to forget the animals they share their lives with, and to ensure their animals are warm and safe in colder weather.

“Many people believe that dogs, cats and other domesticated animals won’t get cold because of their fur or hair — that’s a common misconception,” said Alan Edmonds, Challenging Animal Cruelty Program Director at Animal Protection New Mexico. “Many, if not most, of the animals that we share our homes, yards and barns with are not well-equipped for cold temperatures. They are as susceptible to frost bite and hypothermia as humans are.”

The Valencia County Animal Shelter, 1209 N.M. 314, Los Lunas, has free bags of straw available, enough to fill a dog house. The shelter is closed today, Thursday, Feb. 3, due to the weather, but will reopen at 9 a.m., Friday, Feb. 4. Hay can be  picked up until 4:30 p.m.

Shelter staff said there are full bales of straw available at Old Mill Farm and Ranch Supply, 19763 N.M. 314 in Los Chavez, for $8.50 per bale.

Cold weather animal care tips from APNM:

  • Bring the animals indoors, either into your home or into a heated or well-insulated building like a barn or shed.
  • Straw makes good insulation for any shelter, barn, or shed.
  • Blankets or fabric are not good for keeping animals warm outside—once damp, fabric freezes over.
  • Break the ice on water bowls frequently.

If you can’t bring the animal inside, create an outdoor cold weather shelter.

  • The shelter should be tall enough for the animal to sit upright and turn around — if it’s much bigger, they won’t retain their body heat.
  • Make sure the shelter is slightly off the ground, so it doesn’t get waterlogged.
  • Face the shelter’s entrance south or southeast to guard against the elements and maximize sun exposure.
  • Cover the opening with a thick piece of rubber or heavy fabric like a doormat or carpet scrap.

APNM urges New Mexicans to keep an eye on animals kept outside and take steps to get them care if they show signs of cold weather-related illness or hypothermia. Signs of hypothermia include: shivering followed by stillness, slowed heartbeat, lack of coordination and pale or blue gums.

If you see an animal left outside in bad weather, contact APNM’s Animal Cruelty Helpline, (505) 265-2322 ext. 29 or (877) 5-HUMANE or by email at alan@apnm.org. Edmonds reminds all New Mexicans: “If you are feeling the cold, so are the animals. Bring them inside or ensure they have a place where they can stay warm and safe.”

For more information about APNM, visit apnm.org and follow APNM on Facebook @animalprotectionnm; Instagram @animalprotectionnewmexico; Twitter @apnm, and YouTube @apnm.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.