In Fairfax County, another lesson on keeping animals indoors

WASHINGTON — It looks like we have to repeat it once more: Animals need to be brought in during the kind of severe cold we’ve been having lately.

Last week, the Fairfax County police took in a kitten that had spent a night on a ledge at the Neiman Marcus in the Tyson’s Corner Mall. They got the call at about 2 p.m. Friday; at first, the kitten was too afraid to come to the Animal Control officers who responded.

They then set a humane trap, baited with food. It worked — to a point. The kitten went into the trap, but was too light to trigger the trap door.

The officers closed the trap themselves and took the kitten to the shelter.

They remind everyone that you need to not only keep pets indoors and warm, but give them plenty of food and water: The cold depletes their energy.

Those are the usual bits of advice, but the police add that you should wipe your pet’s paws with a damp towel when they come back inside, to get rid of salt and chemicals; bang on your car hood before starting it, because an animal may have taken refuge under your hood to get warmth from your engine; and be sure to wipe up any antifreeze you may spill — it tastes sweet to animals but is poisonous.

And if you see an animal that’s been left out in the cold for a long time in Fairfax County, make note of the time, date and precise location and call Animal Control at 703-691-2131.

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