BRYAN, Texas — When Bryan resident and cat owner Erin Hill saw a stray tabby seeking food and shelter around Christmas time last year, she felt compelled to step in with food and water on her porch.
And when this week’s winter storm swept across the state, Hill knew she wanted to go even further to help.
"I thought, I’m going to get him a hamper outside," said Hill. "As it’s gotten colder, the hamper set-up has grown. So now there are foam pads, we’ve got a pillow and all kinds of blankets. And then this week, I feel like if it’s going below freezing, we’ve got to add an electric blanket.”
Not only did Hill build an electrically-heated shelter for the stray, but she also set out a humane trap, in hopes of catching the cat so that he could be given veterinary care. While KRHD was on scene Friday afternoon, something amazing happened: the cat slipped safely into the trap!
Animal lovers like Hill and her family inspire animal control officers like Sgt. Kris Fraley of the Brazos County Sheriff's Office. Fraley and his colleagues responded to several calls this Thursday about dogs chained up outside. He ensured that these dogs had proper shelter from the storm and that their owners learned the law.
"Most of the citizens in our county are really great about preparing their animals for the weather," Fraley noted.
While cats and dogs generate some body heat, and some species produce thick fur, making sure they have access to a shelter that is dry and insulated, is critical. Texas A&M AgriLife notes that stray animals who don’t have shelter may seek protection under homes and vehicles, where they could get hurt.
"I actually do see people feeding and taking care of some of the feral cat colonies," Hill said. "... I also see, you know, dogs out in the cold and the rain, and I know that there’s still probably some education that needs to happen.”
A quick look at Facebook and the Nextdoor app shows that there are countless residents of Aggieland who want to shelter and rescue animals in the cold.
Fraley advised that if anyone should see a cat or dog loose in this freezing weather, that person should contact their local animal control for assistance.