Wichita falls opened its brand new animal reclaim center on January 31st. Everybody knows what happened the very next day -- February Freeze hit Texoma hard.
"The rest of the week we were on a limited hours and it was hard for the Animal Control officers to get out and the driving conditions," said Animal Services Administrator Katrena Mitchell.
But despite icy conditions, the center was still open - and busy - all week. But because the Animal Control trucks were stuck in the snow, officers had to make adjustments to how they rescued strays.
"We went out just on emergency calls as we needed to get out so that we kept the citizens safe and our officers safe," Mitchell said.
Fortunately, all the kennels at the center are indoors. But Mitchell says lots of animals escaped their own homes during February Freeze. So if you can't bring your animals inside during the snowfall, remember the suggested specs for a shelter.
"Something with three sides, a floor, and a roof so they aren't affected by the wind and they can get away from the rain or the snow," Mitchell said.
She adds that hay is one of the best beddings for your animals so they can stay dry.
"Fabric materials like that tend to stay wet. The hay works to kind of whisk away the moisture and keeps things a little bit drier," she said.
Also, all animals in Texoma can be at risk when it comes to the cold, even huskies and other northern breeds.
"Just because they were bred to live in cold temperatures, because we've had them here in Texas and they're accustomed to that, they're gonna feel the effects of the cold just like anything else," she said.
As for the reclaim center, all its employees are planning on being at work tomorrow, and all the animal control patrol routes are still scheduled as normal. Although it may be harder for the trucks to get around, officers still want to do what they can to get the animals out of February Freeze.