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Residents warned about ice, cold dangers to them, pets

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 7:08 am

While the ice on Lakeside and Ivan Lebamoff Reservoir Park ponds might be inviting, Fort Wayne officials are warning about unsafe conditions.

High winds and low temperatures have produced a thin, smooth ice cover on the ponds. However, Parks & Recreation Department warn that the ice isn't thick enough for safe activity, according to a news release.

The weather forecast calls for continued cold temperatures, and the ponds might be open for skating by the end of the week.

While the ponds remain unsafe for skating, red lights and flags will be displayed at the sites.

Meanwhile, Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control has these safety tips to help prepare your pet for a safe, warm winter:

*Limit your pet's exposure to cold temperatures. Only thick-coated breeds of animals should be considered for outdoor living. Keep cats inside.

*Age and health make a difference in your pet's ability to be outside in winter. Even if a thick-coated dog has lived outside in past winters, it should be examined and given the OK by a veterinarian.

*Dogs must have a doghouse available when outside in the cold or if living inside an unheated garage. Provide straw or wood chips as bedding. Don't use blankets because condensation from the animal's breathing and body heat will create moisture, causing the animal's coat or skin to freeze to blankets.

*Fasten a heavy door flap to the top of the dog house opening to keep out winds and drafts. Face the opening toward the south/southeast, away from the direction of the coldest winds. When wind chills and temperatures reach minus 10 degrees, a dog house is not enough protection for even thick-coated dogs. Bring them inside.