QUEENS — It's been a ruff winter for man's best friend so volunteers passed out doghouses Saturday to help Jamaica canines who've been left out in the cold.
Under an ASPCA pilot program called Operation Gimme Shelter, 35 of the structures and bags of dog food were doled out to owners of at-risk dogs at the 113th Precinct stationhouse with co-sponsors, the NYPD and New York Cares, officials said.
Police have been getting an influx of calls reporting animals left outside and vulnerable during a harsh winter, the ASPCA said.
But many of those owners have said they simply don't have the resources to properly care for their animals, the ASPCA said.
"Much of what we do involves building trust so pet owners understand that our goal is to help both them and their animals," said Allison Cardona, an ASPCA director, in a statement.
"The ASPCA recognizes that providing free dog houses and support can be an effective means of creating a better environment for these animals," she added.
Owners who participated in Operation Gimme Shelter received ID tags and some educational materials, officials said.
Along with providing new dog shelters, volunteers checked on 15 existing houses for water leaks, the ASPCA said.
This winter has already proven to be one of the hardest since records started being kept in 1869, according to National Weather Service spokesman, Tim Morrin.
The average temperature in Central Park from December through February has been 32.2 degrees, 2 degrees colder than normal, Morrin said.
The total snowfall for the same period has topped out at 57.3 inches, which is about 33 inches more than normal, he said.
The ASPCA plans on holding another session for Operation Gimme Shelter, but has yet to set a date, according to a spokeswoman.