Update, 2/23: Straw will also be distributed this weekend on Saturday, February 28 from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. and Sunday, March 1 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

The Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly) is offering free straw bedding to Philadelphia residents who are caring for animals that spend part or all of their time outdoors. This marks the first winter that Philadelphia’s extreme weather ordinance is in effect and ACCT Philly is aiming to help animal caretakers comply with the requirements of the law.

“We would rather see dogs safe and warm than give out tickets for violations,” said Susan Cosby-Jennings, executive director of ACCT Philly. “This will make it easy for caregivers to be in compliance with the law.”

Straw is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis at ACCT Philly, located at 111 W Hunting Park Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19140. Philadelphia residents can pick-up straw on Saturday, February 21st from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. and supply permitting, Sunday, February 22nd from 4 p.m – 6 p.m. Straw is available to Philadelphia residents caring for an outdoor animal, whether it be their own dog or neighborhood cats.

While owners have always been encouraged to keep animals indoors during winter months, the passing of a new law by City Council means this is the first winter dog owners can be penalized for neglecting to provide proper shelter. Penalties include fines up to $500.

“During a Code Blue, our dispatchers receive about 20 calls a day reporting dogs outside without proper shelter,” said Tara Scherneke, Assistant Director of Operations, Field Services. “Our officers have been very busy; it’s good to know that Philadelphia is full of animal lovers who want to help.”

If you need help keeping animals warm this winter, please click here for shelter requirements. To report a dog outside without proper shelter during a city issued Code Grey or Code Blue, please use the online form found here or call ACCT Philly at 267-385-3800.

If successful, ACCT Philly hopes to make more straw available while the cold weather continues. To support the bedding project and other lifesaving ACCT Philly programs for pets, donate online now or call 267-385-3800 ext. 136.