Winter storms pummeled much of the Deep South this week, leaving millions without power and basic services for days and killing dozens. But they’re not the only things suffering. Many animals are also struggling to survive frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall and ice. Two dozen deer froze to death outside of a ranch in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this week.
Ranchers sent a video to KIII in Texas showing the bodies stacked on a trailer.
Though, some animals have adapted to handle freezing temperatures. That is as long as the cold doesn’t freeze water sources, vegetation, and other food stores the animals need.
However, animals brought to Texas from warmer climates have little protections against the cold.
Several Animals Freeze to Death at Primate Sanctuary
Several different species at the San Antonio Primarily Primates sanctuary died from the cold temperatures. Among the dead are a chimpanzee, many monkeys, lemurs, and countless tropical birds. All the sanctuary’s residents are rescues from animal abuse or experiments, officials said.
“I never, ever thought my office would turn into a morgue, but it has,” Brooke Chavez, executive director of Primarily Primates, told the San Antonio Express-News. “Someone asked me how many animals have died. I don’t know yet. … We won’t truly know how many animals have died until the temperatures rise and the snow starts to melt.”
Chavez said she had to make the horrible choice of picking which animals to evacuate after the facility lost power.
“I’ve never faced a decision like this,” Chavez told the paper. “Having to decide who we can save, depending on the predictability of which animals we can catch.”
Texas Police Demand People Bring Pets Inside
Texas police have said that a number of family pets and feral animals have died over the past week from the cold temperatures. They are demanding families bring pets inside to keep them safe until temperatures begin to rise again.
The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported they had found six animals left outside of an unnamed body shop. Volunteers found one of the dogs dead, partially buried beneath the some, The Daily Mail said.
“You can’t leave an animal outside in extreme weather to fend for themselves and not have dire consequences like this,” said Adam Reynolds, chief animal cruelty investigator for the Houston SPCA. “We have zero-tolerance when it comes to cruelty.”
Authorities charged a Houston man with eight counts of animal abuse and seized seven dogs and a pig from his property on Thursday, the Mail said.
It is against the law to leave pets outside in sub-freezing temperatures, Ted Head, Harris County Constable Precinct 5, said in a statement.
Even inside isn’t a guarantee of safety because of power outages leaving thousands of homes without heat. They’re so cold that some fish tanks have frozen during the past week.