Caring in all shapes and sizes
Dog Houses & Straw
This dog only has the space beneath the steps as shelter.
This dog only has the space beneath the steps as shelter.

Countless dogs live outside in the Greater Kalamazoo area during the extreme weather common to Michigan in all four seasons. Many dogs are living outside without adequate shelter and have no where to go to get out of the elements. This is an unhealthy and potentially fatal situation for so many dogs in our area.

While it is not illegal to keep a dog outdoors, the law does require a shelter. Dog houses can be very costly and sometimes the cost is the only thing preventing the dog from being safe and protected. KHS is here to help, offering dog houses to owners who need them.

Know the Legal Requirements for Outdoor Pets

In the State of Michigan, the law very clearly defines shelter as the following:

  • "Shelter" means adequate protection from the elements and weather conditions suitable for the age, species, and physical condition of the animal so as to maintain the animal in a state of good health.
    ("State of good health" means freedom from disease and illness, and in a condition of proper body weight and temperature for the age and species of the animal, unless the animal is undergoing appropriate treatment.)

  • Shelter, for livestock, includes structures or natural features such as trees or topography.

  • Shelter, for a dog, includes 1 or more of the following:
    (i) The residence of the dog's owner or other individual.
    (ii) A doghouse that is an enclosed structure with a roof and of appropriate dimensions for the breed and size of the dog. The doghouse shall have dry bedding when the outdoor temperature is or is predicted to drop below freezing.
    (iii) A structure, including a garage, barn, or shed, that is sufficiently insulated and ventilated to protect the dog from exposure to extreme temperatures or, if not sufficiently insulated and ventilated, contains a doghouse as provided under subparagraph (ii) that is accessible to the dog.

  • View the law as its written here:

How to Get Straw or a Dog House From KHS
  • Straw is available from Fall until supplies last to anyone who comes to our office
  • Dog Houses are available on a limited basis and usually by referral only
  • If Animal Services has been to your home and has cited you for Inadequate Shelter, please call us

You Can Help
  • If you have a dog house that you no longer need, please consider donating it to KHS to be given to a dog in need.
  • If you're a part of a youth group or club, consider building dog houses as a great community service project.