From the high waters to the crazy weather, it’s really been a hectic few weeks in southwestern Manitoba.
I have to say I was so pleased to see our community include a section of information for pet owners in the flyers that went out concerning flood preparations.
As the water levels have risen, there has been a little extra commotion around the river, with large trucks and equipment working to keep floodwaters at bay, and pumps going around the clock. Those of us located near the river can attest to the different noises and sounds that are becoming more and more familiar.
Some of these strange sounds can cause stress and anxiety for pets that are sensitive to sounds, and this can result in some very nervous animals.
This is amplified by the series of storms that have passed through our community, bringing rain, thunder, lightning and high winds — and leaving behind damages such as broken fences, gates and much more.
Over the last few weeks, the Brandon city pound has been faced with an unusual amount of found pets, many of which have gotten out due to fences and gates that have been knocked down or damaged in the storms.
Some of the found animals were known to have serious storm anxiety issues, and others have run off when they were spooked by a loud or unusual noise.
It is extremely important to pay extra attention to your furry friends during these times.
Be certain to inspect your yard following storm activity to ensure it remains secure. In some cases, pets that have gotten out because of a broken fence board or damage to a gate latch that owners didn’t notice on their initial walk-through.
When the storms are brewing, be sure to bring your pets inside. Many animals escape their yards during a storm, and there are many cases of dogs jumping fences or snapping their tie-outs when a sudden crack of thunder spooks them.
Not all pets suffer from thunderstorm anxiety, but even pets that are not normally affected by storms can react to a sudden loud noise.
Living near the river, I have noticed that my own pets are nervous about the unusual noises from the flood control — especially at night when the sounds are amplified in the quiet streets.
This is not a good time to leave pets out in the yard for long periods of time, especially animals that are known to be nervous around strange or loud noises.
If your pet does go missing, be sure you contact local animal control and place a report about your missing pet.
In Brandon, you can place a police report by calling 204-729-2345 — you can also contact the city pound at 204-728-3260. In rural areas, contact your town or RM office for animal control and impound contact information.
Many local residents will take in lost animals in hopes of reconnecting them with their owners. BALA (Brandon Area Lost Animals) is the biggest and best lost-and-found pet network in Westman.
This Facebook site has nearly 2,000 "likes" and has reunited hundreds of lost and found pets through social media. You can post pictures of lost or found pets by visiting BALA at www.facebook.com/manitobabala — or if you are not on Facebook, you can send pictures and information to firstname.lastname@example.org and request them posted.
The events of the last few weeks have caused a large spike in the number of pets coming and going from the animal impounds.
Here in Brandon, these high numbers mean an increased risk of animals being euthanized due to lack of space.
It is very important to report lost and found pets promptly to ensure animals remain safe — and it is equally important that pet owners take care to ensure pets are safe and secure during these noisy eventful times.
Dana Grove is an animal lover who works with several pet organizations in Brandon.