CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville area nonprofit is working to help dozens of outdoor pets get off their chains and into safe, comfortable enclosures this summer. 

The Houses of Wood and Straw (HOWS) Project began its summer fencing project this weekend. The organization’s goal is to give outdoor pets more freedom and a better life.

Now through October, HOWS Project volunteers will spend most weekends building fences and safe enclosures to give outdoor pets the conditions they need. 

Nine formerly chained up dogs in Albemarle County will have access to an open field thanks to the HOWS Project volunteers.

"A lot of people want to keep their dogs, they just don't have the means to build a fence,” the leader of the fence project, Deanna Barbeau Scott, said. “They are chained most of the time and they are more than happy to have us come out and build a fence for them so that their dog can run free or have more space."

While HOWS is best-known for helping dogs, the group does not limit its services to just one species.

Scott said, "We also have a duck who was confined in a small space at the bottom so we removed him and put him up here."

The group provides wooden houses to protect the animals from the heat and also offers vet services. 

Scott said, "We've also been out here putting frontline flea and tick for all of the animals. There's a bunch of cats here too." 

The HOWS Project relies on the hard labor of several volunteers, but those who give their time say it's definitely worth it. 
Patti Binard, a HOWS volunteer, said, "It's very rewarding at the end of the day to know the animals are in better shape and have better living conditions than they did when you got there in the morning."

The HOWS Project says it still has the resources and time to plan between three or four more fence builds this summer.

If you know of someone in need of HOWS Project's help or you're interested in volunteering, visit their website