Stray Rescue Asks St. Louis for Help as Homeless Dogs, Cats Freeze to Death

Francis, the Shephard mix rescued from the cold, died during surgery this week. - Stray Rescue
Stray Rescue
Francis, the Shephard mix rescued from the cold, died during surgery this week.

Stray Rescue put out an urgent letter asking for donations and volunteers to help homeless dogs and cats during this season's particularly biting weather.

Sleet and snow have left strays with frostbitten paws, which makes scavenging for food painful and difficult, says Randy Grim, Stray Rescue's founder. When temperatures rarely rise above freezing, the animals' sources of drinking water freeze, leaving many with severe dehydration.

"Tragically, we all-too-often find dogs frozen to death," Grim writes on the organization's website.

Just this week, Grimm rescued a Shepard mix that was severely dehydrated, malnourished and hypothermic.

Sadly, the dog -- which Grimm named Francis for St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals -- died during surgery, after just hours out of the cold.

See also: Stray Rescue: 22 Dogs Rescued from North, East, South St. Louis This Weekend

In a video posted to YouTube Thursday, a pack of dogs tentatively approaches Stray Rescue volunteers helping them survive on the barren, white landscape by leaving cans of dog food.

While volunteers regularly leave food for strays, only the most critical cases can be taken in from the elements while the full animal shelter operates on a tight budget.

"It is particularly hard to leave a comparatively healthy-looking pack behind that, for the time being, appears to be in fair shape," Grimm says. "As a rescuer, one of the hardest things to witness is when dogs you become familiar with on a particular route slowly deteriorate before your eyes as they try their best to endure the merciless cold."

Stray Rescue is asking for help, especially financial donations and foster parents for animals taken off the streets. The shelter also asks for donations of garbage bags, animal treats, leashes, collars and other needs.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at [email protected].

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