Richmond neighbors call police for pets left in the cold 

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) officers seized at least one dog in the city after its owner refused to bring their pet inside and out of the bitter cold.

Arctic air moved into the region and the coldest weather was expected Thursday morning, according to CBS 6 meteorologists.  Daybreak lows will drop into the single digits and teens.

Brendan King rode along with RACC supervisor Rob Leinberger,  responding to numerous calls for pets left in backyards Wednesday night.

Leinberger found four chihuahuas inside a metal cage with just a small dog house in the backyard of a home on Fenton Street. One of the dogs was tethered to the fence.

The owner, who declined an interview, told Leinberger that she fell asleep and forgot to bring her dogs inside.

"When it’s inclement weather like this and when it's super cold outside - you can’t tether them outside," Leinberger told the owner.

Richmond City code was recently updated to include inclement weather regarding pets left tethered outside as a violation.

"If you’re not here and we can’t reach you, we have no choice but to take them…so if you hadn’t been here I would’ve taken them," Leinberger explained.

Leinberger responded to another call after a neighbor on Garber Street notified authorities three dogs were also left outside in the cold.

Two of the dogs were tethered and another was locked inside of a cage.

"In this case two of the animals will be taken indoors, but the third animal they can’t bring indoors. [The owners said] the dog is super hyperactive and have no way to keep the animal contained," Leinberger said.

RACC then seized the Pit Bull and brought it to the Chamberlayne Avenue shelter.

"This is illegal - this is a violation of certainly city ordinance and I would dare state code of animal welfare," Leinberger stated. "The animal will be safe and warm at the animal hospital and we will deal with the animal owner tomorrow."

With nearly three decades of experience Leinberger said, sadly, he's seen it all when it comes to animals.

"I've seen in some of the worst conditions animals have been left in," he said. "I get frustrated for the animal because it was put in a predicament that it’s unable to get out of, especially if it’s on a chain or a pen."

Heated homes for feral cats in Richmond

Kathleen Farley and Jahn Chandler wanted to find a way to save some of the feral cats in the River City.

The couple, who lives off Seminary Avenue, created the Havoc Feral Colony.

Their efforts have since grown to a network of small heated homes for cats to escape the cold.

"They are all heated and blocked from the wind," Farley explained. "Our electric outlet is under the carport so it stays dry and it’s hooked up to Alexa so we can say, 'Turn on cat beds, turn off cat beds.'"

Their main intent is to prevent the feral cat population from growing.

"The whole reason we started feeding them daily was so we could get them spayed and neutered," Farley stated.

Farley said they've also called RACC several times for dogs left outside in backyards in the cold.

"They should not have to deal with being left out in the cold or a chain," she said.

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