NC groups offer help to animals suffering outside in the cold


AJ Lawn and McKenzie Osborne work on another hand-built dog house at AJ’s Lawn Maintenance on East Ozark Ave in Gastonia, North Carolina on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. (Mike Hensdill/The Gaston Gazette via AP)


Gaston County pets who need shelter from the harsh winter can now get help.

Several groups in Gaston County have come together under the umbrella of “No Cold Pets-Gaston” to provide residents with hand-built wooden dog and cat houses.

The Gaston Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement, and AJ’s Lawn and Landscaping of Gastonia are working together to build and distribute more than a dozen dog and cat houses for free to local pet owners.

“We’ve been collaborating since early November, just trying to provide those in need with a haven for their pet,” said Terry Kenny, a Gastonia attorney who helps run the spay clinic.

Funding provided by JDP Detailing of Gastonia helped Melissa and AJ Lawing purchase materials and lumber to build their company’s animal shelters on East Ozark Avenue. JDP Detailing provides $50 financing for each shelter built.

Gaston County Police, working with the Animal Care and Law Enforcement Division, ensure shelters go to pet owners who need help the most.

“We usually receive a service call for a citizen about an animal that seems to be in pain. We go out and look at it from a cruelty perspective and try to educate them on how to take good care of their pet,” Captain Reid Rollins said.

“Once we identify the need, we educate them on different resources they can use to properly care for their pets, including pet homes. After that, we keep in touch and follow up with pet owners depending on the severity of the case before,” Rollins added.

Ashly Hernandez of Gastonia has five dogs living outdoors, but couldn’t provide shelter for all of them.

“I could only afford them three pet homes, but I lost one a few months ago to a storm,” she said. “I have been unemployed for three months and with four dependent daughters, I have not been able to replace him.”

Hernandez appealed for help on social media and Kenny responded.

Now the family’s four Huskies and a mixed Labrador can shelter from the harsh winter weather.

“I am very grateful to them. Not only did they provide me with the pet houses, but they also donated pet straw,” Hernandez said.

Since 2019, the Lawings have built more than 200 dog shelters. They also donate their company’s pet food and straw for pet bedding.

“The need for these houses is usually during the winter, having extra hands to help us in our mission, we hope to continue to build as many houses as possible to be able to have enough before the wave of needs begins” , Kenny mentioned.

The partnership even brought them volunteers to help them build.

“Many people have stopped by to help build these houses, such as Debby Suggs who built 20 houses on her own and Todd Davis who is currently looking to become an Eagle Scout.

They volunteered and even raised some money to help cover the cost of materials and anything else they needed,” Kenny said.

Anyone interested in volunteering to build homes or making a donation can contact Kenny at 704-868-4673. Pet houses can be requested by calling Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement at 704-922-8677 or emailing Rollins at [email protected]

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