look Warming shelter issues ask for pet coats, sweaters.

With the temperature dropping, local warming shelter organizers have called for coats and sweaters for dogs.

The non-residential population of the hot springs has pets, but the temperature drops put the animals, who are often neglected, and their owners at risk.

“They have dogs, and we’re as concerned about the animals as we are about the people,” said Sally Carder, one of the shelter’s administrators. “But we thought if we could find some people that their animals had outgrown their coats, little sweaters or something that could help our homeless pets.”

Coats and sweaters for the dogs can be dropped off at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church or the Jackson House, Carder said.

“If they leave them there, we’ll be able to get it,” he said.

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Faith Wetzler, coordinator of Hot Springs Animal Services, said city and county ordinances require a “solid three-wall and roof” space to keep any outdoor pets away from the elements.

“They need a bottom — to get out of that cold ground, and straw is the best thing to keep them warm, and then heat lamps are very cheap,” she said, adding that straw is available for free at Animal Services. . “They can go to Tractor Supply or Walmart and spend 20 bucks, and get a lamp and a bulb. And really, that helps a lot. Those walls keep that heat in, but the dogs Get pneumonia like we do. They freeze to death. Like we do. That fur doesn’t keep them warm like everyone thinks.”

Large breed dogs with heavy fur coats, such as Akitas, Huskies, German Shepherds and Labradors, can handle cooler temperatures more easily than smaller dogs, but they still need shelter, Wetzler said.

“All those dogs are great outdoor dogs,” she said. “They have a lot of energy. They need to be outside a lot, but they also need to be inside. They need that socialization, to come in and have the comfort of their family.”

Camp Diggity Dogs recently held a dog food drive to help those less fortunate, Carder said.

“They’ve delivered dog food to various organizations like Jackson House, St. Luke’s and Lakeview Assembly of God,” she said. “So now we have dog food that we can give to our people, and that’s a big deal. It’s important that our pets are well-fed, especially during the winter, so we Camp Diggity appreciates the dogs’ efforts.”

While the shelter has yet to open this winter, Carder said there are plans to house the shelter at First United Methodist Church.

“They’ve agreed to let us use the center again, and hopefully, this will be the last time we have to impose on these people. That’s what we’re doing. The temperature is 25 (degrees).” set, and the forecast should be 25 for at least two nights in a row. So for example, when I woke up (Thursday) morning, it was already 25, but it got up pretty quickly. We were there. will be able to open.”

Weather conditions may cause the shelter to open before the 25-degree mark, Carder said.

“If we knew it was going to snow and it might be 27 degrees instead of 25, I think we could convince the church to allow us to open,” he said. “We certainly look at a lot of factors there. Moisture content — if it rains for days and days, I worry about my people because they’re going to get wet. Everything they have in the meantime gets wet. “

Many times things are lost or stolen from homeless people, putting them at risk, Carder said.

“Our homeless people should have sleeping bags and tents and coats and gloves and hats — things that they will need just to survive,” he said. “The problem we face is that when their camps are busted, sometimes they don’t have a chance to get those supplies. The other thing we face is that If they leave their camps unattended for too long, another homeless neighbor of theirs will steal from them. So we kind of keep an eye on them as much as we can, but our goal is just to get them. Gotta get through this winner. Again street.”

Churches and organizations that want to support the shelter — either financially or by helping to serve food — should start planning now, so they’ll be ready when it opens. .

“They should start talking to their members and say, ‘Hey, when the shelter opens, would you maybe be willing to serve food? Or would you be willing to provide a small security deposit?’ Ready?'” he said. . “We’ve decided with new people — we have a lot of new people on the street that we don’t even know — so we’re going to increase security this year. The biggest single expense is security because it’s a one-off. We’re only lucky for eight hours for an on-duty police officer, and we’re trying to increase that to at least four or five hours now. And that’s just too much money.”

Carder said people can donate to the warming or cooling shelter at any time by visiting the St. Luke’s website and selecting “Warming/Cooling Shelter” in the drop-down menu:

http://tinyurl.com/ykn9kf7z

“If anyone wants to go ahead and do something in advance, they can certainly go to the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church website, and there’s a way to do that already — by donating to the warming shelters. Can,” he said.

“That’s going to be our biggest issue where trying to find the money to provide additional security. Not that we’re afraid of our guests, but it makes it easier for volunteers. There won’t be… Arguing. Everything will calm down. It’s just what we’ve done for years, and we just feel like with all the new faces we’re seeing, it’s probably a wise idea to have more. spend hours.”

An adoption sign is displayed at Hot Springs Animal Services. (The Sentinel Record/Donald Cross)

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