Emergency crews remind pet owners how to stay safe in winter


Following a few incidents of dogs falling through the ice this week, emergency crews want to remind owners how to protect their pets near frozen waters.

One such incident occurred near 2610 Carrera Drive.

Emergency crews say it is very dangerous for people to go onto the ice after their pet falls. It is recommended that if your pet falls through the ice, the first thing to do is call 911 immediately.

Gale Blomenkamp of the Boone County Fire Protection District in Mid-Missouri said it’s generally never a good idea to walk on ice because changing temperatures create weak ice.

Some dog owners told ABC 17 News that it’s best to keep a watchful eye on your dog at all times. If you notice them getting too close to the frozen lake, draw their attention to them coming the other way.

Clayton Farr Jr., assistant fire chief for the Columbia Fire Department, says if you’re walking your dog near a body of water, it’s important to keep him on a leash.

“None of us really know what’s in the minds of animals, so a goose or a bird or some other distraction can cause the dog to run away on ice that they believe to be a solid surface. They’re not aware of the danger as much as the owner would be. We just encourage owners to keep their dogs on a leash,” Farr Jr. said.

According to Peta, a national animal rights website, 34 animals are believed to have died from cold-related reasons in 2020. The Humane Society of Missouri says if you’re going out with your pet, layer them. If he has shorter fur or seems bothered by cooler temperatures, consider a pet sweater or coat.