Dog cold

The Saint John SPCA says people should bring their pets indoors when the mercury drops. (CBC)

The Saint John SPCA is urging pet owners to bring their animals indoors when temperatures plummet.

Melody McElman, the president of the chapter, says they’ve seen an uptick in the number of dogs the SPCA has had to seize or has found abandoned during the recent cold weather.

She said with power outages and the drop in temperature, people are deciding they can’t take care of their animals.

"There has been an increase," McElman said. "As the weather gets colder you’ll find more and more people calling, concerned — where we’ve had to report cruelty cases and abandonment and go out.".

McElman said people who worry about a neighbour’s pet left outdoors shouldn’t hesitate to call the SPCA.

"The reality is it’s exactly the same as human beings except they don't have boots on their feet," she said.

It’s important to realize, she said, that the pads on the feet of dogs and cats can freeze in as little as 10 minutes.

"Just because they have a fur coat on doesn’t mean they can keep extra warm," she said. "Their ears and their noses, just like human beings, can freeze within minutes.

"We see a lot of those, of frostbitten cases where cats and dogs are coming in with blackened ears."