SALEM, Va. -

We've received a number of calls and emails into the the newsroom from viewers concerned about dogs in their neighborhood.

Animal advocates stress the importance of bringing your pet in from the cold -especially during these frigid conditions.

Animal control officers agree.

They say while they'd like to see owners bring all their pets inside, under the letter of the law, there's only so much they can do.

Under the code your dog must have some sort of shelter.

"We're looking to whether the animal is suffering or not, they can have everything they're supposed to have, but if the animals looks like it's suffering from the weather we can still take enforcement action," explains Lt. Bill Bandy with Salem Animal Control.

Bandy says suffering can include shivering, whining or crying.

If your pet is outside, it's important their shelter is clean and dry and is insulated with straw or a blanket.

The animal group, Angels of Assisi is helping pet owners who need assistance getting those things.