MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Owners of outdoor dogs may be able to obtain some help in protecting their animals from the elements this winter, as the Marshall County Animal Rescue League and the Marshall County Co-Op have partnered to provide shelters across the year.
In conjunction with a push from the West Virginia Humane Society to introduce legislation to set more concrete standards for sheltering animals kept outside, the rescue league purchased 18 plastic doghouses from the co-op, which will be available to area pet owners at no cost. Rescue league president Rich Moorehead said the league would donate the doghouses after investigating the home to ensure that conditions are safe for the animals.
“People will be able to call the shelter, and we will deliver, free of charge,” Moorehead said. “If they need a shelter for their animal, they’re going to get it.”
Rescue league member Barb Scanlon said bringing dogs inside in cold weather is preferable, but the free doghouse program is a reasonable alternative.
“When I mentioned buying doghouses, we got mixed emotions. A lot of people said we don’t want to buy doghouses, because we don’t condone putting your dog out in a doghouse,” Scanlon said. “There are a lot of people who are going to put their dogs outside regardless of what it’s like. … It’s not perfect, but we can do what we can to make it better.”
The West Virginia Humane Society recently began an initiative to introduce legislation pushing for stricter definitions of outdoor shelter for companion animals to require at least three sides and a waterproof roof to keep animals safe from wind, snow, heat, freezing temperatures and other weather hazards.
The 18 doghouses cost roughly $2,500, sold at a discount to the rescue league. The program also includes free straw provided as bedding material.