Local rescuers launch 'Cribs for Canines' to help dogs fight freezing temps

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LORENA, Texas (KWTX) The cold, wet weather has inspired local animal rescuers to join forces to protect outdoor pets.

(Photo by Rissa Shaw)

Several rescuers have formed a new group called "Cribs for Canines," which will build dog houses out of donated shipping containers to provide shelter for dogs who don't have any.

"I felt that maybe we could go into these communities and gently assist them with something such as simple as a dog house, but also at the same time gently educate them on becoming a better pet owner," said Cribs for Canines Project Manager Sylvia Hall. "Maybe we can stop that cycle of leaving a dog out on a chain, or leaving a dog out on a tie-out, with no shelter."

Hall, who is also part of the team for Central Texas Lost & Found Pets, says the effort is the result of a post she made on Facebook earlier this month asking for used dog houses.

From there, with the help and input of fellow area animal rescuers, she says it snowballed.

"We just all kind of came together and chatted it up and came up with this idea," said Hall.

One of the people who responded to her post said he could get them wooden shipping crates, at no cost, which Hall's husband Josh could turn into dog houses.

The first eight-to-ten crates will be made into prototypes next week, then they'll be delivered to McLennan County pet owners lacking adequate shelter for their dogs who are fenced or chained outside.

"We're not there to be mad at them or report them, we want to reach out and help them and maybe educate them," said Cribs for Canines volunteer Jill Jenkins. "Just to see a dog on a chain that's thin, that has no food or shelter or water and it's 30 degrees, it's just very, very sad and it's very hard to watch, so instead of watching or going to the person and being angry, sometimes if you reach out to help they're more receptive."

Jenkins, who also runs the West Pet Project, said until they get the dog houses built, she and a founder of Cribs for Canines named Michelle Ann will been doing "chain drops" at houses around the area - delivering hay and other materials to keep dogs who already have some sort of shelter dry and warm.

Temperatures were expected to dip below freezing Thursday night.

The group is working out of a 2,500 square foot shop donated by a man in Lorena, and the wooden shipping crates are free.

However, the group is still in need of materials and volunteers.

"We're in need of the roofing, nails, the shingles, we're in need of carpet, we're in need of paint, we're in need of the building materials - the hardware," said Hall.