Sleeping outdoors, officers call attention to animals left out in the Michigan winter

Science and Innovation

From left to right, Officer Trish Barnes, Officer Joaquin Guerrero and Officer Anthony Trevino will sleep outside on Jan. 12 to raise awareness of the dangers animals face when they're left outside for long periods of time. Seen with them is Guerrero's canine partner, Little Chief.

Some animal control officers in Michigan said they’ll be spending a cold night outdoors next week to raise awareness of the dangers animals face when they’re left outside for too long, a report said.

Three officers with the Saginaw County Animal Control are planning to spend more than 12 hours on Jan. 12 outside at Apple Mountain, participating Officer Joaquin Guerrero told ABC 12.

“We’ve got to be that voice for them,” Guerrero said. “We’ve got to help them so it doesn’t happen, so we don’t find these animals frozen. And that, we can’t save them all, but the ones we can save, or the awareness we can bring, that just keeps educating more people and more people.”

Officer Dog 3

Guerrero said he and two other officers will spend more than 12 hours outside on Jan. 12 in dog houses.  (Saginaw County Animal Control)

Guerrero will be joined by Officer Trish Barnes and Officer Anthony Trevino, the organization’s Facebook event page said, “who have volunteered to sleep in dog houses ranging from having straw to having no shelter at all.”

The officer told ABC 12 that they’ll be able to crawl into and sit in the dog houses and he’ll also have a chain, to create the picture of a dog whose mobility has been restricted.

“They’re stuck there, they can’t move, they can’t let their natural instincts kick in for them,” Guerrero told the outlet. “Lots of times when people become dog owners they think, ‘oh they’re a dog, they can sustain, do whatever.’ But they’re not educated for the summer weather, the fall, the spring, the winter, and we run into these problems.”


Also attending the event will be Guerrero’s canine partner, a 16-month-old German Shepherd named Little Chief, as well as elementary school students, ABC 12 said. The kids will be tracking the officer’s temperatures and comfort over the course of the night “to provide vital real life information on what animals endure in the cold,” the event page said. However, the kids and the pooch will reportedly spend most of their time inside.

Guerrero told ABC 12 that his “personal goal is to make it through the night.”

The officers are planning to stream portions of the event on Facebook Live, according to the outlet, and said medical support will be available, should they need it. Guerrero said people in the area can visit the event and the organization will be accepting donations to go towards animal care, ABC 12 reported.

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