First State Animal Center - SPCA asks owners of outdoor pets to take extra precautions during bitterly cold weather

First State Animal Center –SPCA provides life-saving tips for caring for animals during cold weather

Contact: Kevin Usilton, Executive Director,, (302) 943-6032, ext. 116

Dover, DE -- With impending bitterly cold temperatures and snow being forecast, the First State Animal Center – SPCA (FSAC-SPCA), asks that dog and cat owners who keep their pets outside follow the following specifications for the humane handling, care and treatment of dogs.

          All outdoor housing facilities for dogs should be structurally sound and safe for the animal, and the housing facility should fit the dog securely and restrict other animals from entering. The facility, or dog house, should preserve body heat, and keep them dry during the snow. Additional bedding needs to be provided for the animal when the temperature falls below 35 degrees or less.

          “Ideally, when the winter temperatures plummet to the 30s, 20s and teens, and with wind-chill temperatures being even less, the animal should be kept indoors,” Kevin Usilton, Executive Director, said. “However, we understand that is not always feasible, but it is imperative that the dog or cat owner make every effort to keep the animal safe, warm and dry. It is the humane thing to do, and it is the law.”

          Usilton said that dogs, such as short-haired breeds, that are not acclimated to the frigid outdoor temperatures may not be kept in an outdoor facility unless the practice is specifically approved by a licensed veterinarian.

          If a dog owner has to keep the dog outside during bad weather, the owner must check regularly the dog’s water dish, to make sure the dog has access to fresh, thawed water, and additional bedding, which must be wood chips or straw, NOT blankets- the use of blankets is also against the law. “If the animal gets wet, so will the blanket, making the situation worse, possibly deadly-- for the animal,” Usilton said.  

The mission of the First State Animal Center and SPCA is twofold: they protect animals from people, by prevention of cruelty and suffering, rescue of the trapped or injured, emergency medical treatment, temporary housing for homeless animals and the reduction of homeless pet overpopulation through targeted spay/neuter and education programs; and they protect people from animals through their commitment  in placing only stable, safe and well-adjusted animals into homes where they will thrive while simultaneously educating the public about responsible pet guardianship.

          Information about the First State Animal Center and SPCA, a non-profit, charitable organization, can be found at

Vaccination Clinic to be held January 13, 2014

Here is our updated Holiday Newsletter with the award winners listed!