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In Cold Weather, Stray Animals Are a Concern, Too

What you should do if you see a stray or lost dog or cat out in the cold.

GRAPHIC CREDIT: National Weather Service
GRAPHIC CREDIT: National Weather Service
As Decatur and the rest of metro Atlanta settles in for a second night of brutally cold temperatures, many municipal and county services and local humanitarian efforts will be rightly focused on ensuring the safety of our homeless neighbors on the streets.

But the cold, which was projected to dip to seven degrees Monday night — breaking a 44-year record — will be brutal on our four-legged neighbors, lost or stray dogs and cats, too.

We spoke with Karen Hirsch of LifeLine Animal Project, which operates DeKalb County Animal Services and Fulton County Animal Services about what the best practices are to dealing with an animal in the cold.

If you come across a stray dog or cat or one that appears lost, see if it has a collar and ID tags, that could give you its owner's name and number, she said.

If there is no collar or tag, keep in mind that many dogs and cats are often microchipped and the identifying information about the proper person to contact is located there. If the dog or cat is friendly enough to let you handle it, you can take it to a vet or your local animal shelter who can get that information.

If the dog or cat is skittish or apprehensive, try to coax them into a warm area such as a garage where, as they become less leery, they may let you approach to inspect their tags.

If the animal appears hostile or fearful, you will need to let animal control get it.

WHO TO CALL:
DeKalb County Animal Services, 
845 Camp Road, Decatur:
  • Field Enforcement** ^^: (Animals running-at-large, cruelty, bites, etc): 404.294.2996
  • Cruelty report hotline number: 404-294.2939
  • Shelter related calls:  404.294.2949
  • For information about controlling nuisance wildlife, contact AWARE 678.418.1111 or the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at 404.918.6408.  
  • For dead animal pickup call the DeKalb Department of Sanitation at 404.294.2900
Fulton County Animal Services, 860 Marietta Blvd. NW, Atlanta:
  • Field Enforcement: 404.613.0358
  • For wildlife animal control, call the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at 404.918.6408 or AWARE.
  • For pickup of dead animals, please call the Fulton County Department of Sanitation at 404.613.3113.

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