A hard freeze warning is in effect from 6 p.m. Wednesday until 11 a.m. Thursday for most of Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia after hours of near-freezing rain on Wednesday. Wind chills Thursday morning are forecast to be in the teens as far south as Ocala.
Jacksonville Humane Society Executive Director Denise Deisler says that means pets need to be taken inside for their safety.
“It is deadly, and people need to understand that the freeze warning is indicative of an extended period of time below freezing temperatures. Add that to the wet, and if animals have been outside and been wet, it could be fatal. They could die,” she said.
Deisler said even if cats or dogs are normally outdoor pets, it’s important to try luring them into a heated building overnight, even if it’s just a garage with some blankets.
As for animals that don’t have owners, she said good Samaritans can offer them temporary shelter if they seem friendly enough. People can also call Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services at (904) 630-CITY or the Humane Society at (904) 725-8766 about picking them up.
However, the Humane Society is closing at 4 p.m. Wednesday to allow staff and animals time to hunker down before the cold and will reopen as soon as possible Thursday morning, she said. Monitor JaxHumane.org for more information.
Deisler also said drivers should bang on the hoods of their cars before starting them because it’s common for feral cats and other animals to seek shelter from the cold inside the engine.