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Animal Care Group Creates Warm Spaces for Pets Left in the Cold

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Pets are also impacted by the cold weather Pets are also impacted by the cold weather
The HOWS Project helps keep pets warm The HOWS Project helps keep pets warm
There's no VA legislation to force owners to keep pets inside There's no VA legislation to force owners to keep pets inside
Volunteers with HOWS create warm nests for pets Volunteers with HOWS create warm nests for pets
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

It's not only humans suffering in the frigid temperatures.

Animals are too.

Care groups are getting a lot of calls about dogs stuck outside in the cold.

But with no laws to protect these dogs, rescuing them gets tricky.

The lack of state legislation makes it hard for animal control to force pet owners to keep their animals inside.

But thanks to the Houses of Wood and Straw Project, several central Virginia dogs have been rescued from the cold.

The HOWS Project says when it receives tips, volunteers travel to the home with dog houses and straw to try to create a warm space if they can't convince the dog's owners to bring the animal inside.

HOWS volunteers are not allowed to remove a dog from a property, but if the situation is bad enough they either try to convince the owner to surrender their pet or the group contacts animal control.

But animal control says its powers are limited because Virginia law only says that dogs must have "adequate" shelter.

"It’s hard to make someone love their dog enough to make them bring them inside but legally, as long as they have what they need, then that’s all I can ask for right now until Virginia decides to change the law,” says Casey Breeden, an animal control officer.

Breeden says last year she received a call for a dog that had frozen to death because it was left outside in the cold.

The Humane Society of the United States will be presenting a bill on the floor of the Virginia General Assembly next week that deals with anti-tethering in extreme weather conditions.

The Houses of Wood and Straw Project says if this is something you care about, contact your delegate and urge them to vote in favor of the bill.

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