Briefs for Dec. 27

Colorado Department of Agriculture urges pet safety

Winter offially began Dec. 21 and by then, much of Colorado was covered in snow.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture reminds everyone to protect his and her animals during cold temperatures.

"If animals have prolonged exposure to cold conditions, despite having fur, they are still susceptible to hypothermia," said Dr. Keith Roehr, assistant state veterinarian.

Hypothermia is most likely to occur when an animal is wet. The signs of hypothermia are violent shivering followed by listlessness, apathy, a temperature below 97 degrees, collapse and coma. If you believe your pet is suffering from hypothermia, consult your veterinarian. Prevention is the best choice.

A few simple steps can help protect animals during cold temperatures:

  • Keep pes inside. If animals can't be inside, provide a warm, comfortable place. Face shelter away from wind and provide a flap or door to help keep the animal's body heat inside.
  • Bedding is essential. It insulates the animal from the snow and ice underneath the body and allows the animal to retain heat within the bedding.
  • Cats may sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm. If you have outdoor felines in your neighborhood, check under the hood before starting your car.
  • When walking your pet, keep them on leashes. They can't rely on their sense of smell in the snow and may become lost.
  • Wipe off your dog's legs and stomach to remove any ice, salt or chemicals.
  • Outdoor pets need more calories to produce body heat so extra food and water must be provided. Devices are now available to keep water dishes from freezing; if one is not available, fill and replace water frequently.

"A good common sense rule is if you need to bundle up from the cold, you also need to take steps to protect your pets," Roehr said.

Dinosaur monument announces road closure

Superintendent Marry Risser announced that Dinosaur National Monument's Harpers Corner Road, which begins two miles east of Dinosaur, on U.S. Highway 40 and runs 31 miles north into the monument, will close Jan. 1.

The first five miles of the road up to Plug Hat Butte will remain open and plowed throughout the winter to allow public access to the Plug Hat parking area for snowmobile and cross-country ski enthusiasts. The road closure entails locking two gates on the Harpers Corner Road above and below Moffat County Road 16 and the gate at Plug Hat Butte picnic area.

Cross-country skiing and snowmobile use is allowed on the closed portion of the road above Plug Hat Butte. Snowmobiles are allowed off the road surface and may not go past the Echo Park Road turn off 21 miles north of Highway 40.

The Canyon Area Visitor Center at Monument Headquarters near Dinosaur is closed until March 1. The temporary visitor contact area near Jensen, Utah, is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through the winter except for New Year's Day. The rest of the monument will be open to the public throughout the winter.

Campers on the Utah side of the monument should use Split Mountain campground, which will remain open for the entire winter. Vault toilets will remain open at Split Mountain campground for the winter, but no water is available. No camping fees will be charged at Split Mountain campground during the winter.

The campgrounds at Rainbow Park, Deer Lodge, near Elk Springs, and Echo Park remain open, but snowfall may prevent access to those campgrounds as the winter season progresses. Rainbow Park, Deer Lodge and Echo Park campgrounds have vault toilets but no running water. No fees are charged at these campgrounds during the winter season.

For more information, call (435) 781-7717.

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