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Manatee County couple helps woman who was stranded with her dogs in the cold

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BRADENTON, FL (WWSB) - It does continue to be very cold outside.  For one woman and her dogs she does have a warm place to stay for the time being, all thanks to some good samaritans.

"I couldn't possibly just leave her there alone, that's not who we are," said Kayla Weston, a Manatee County resident.

Weston and her husband spotted a woman with her four dogs sitting against a wall at a gas station on State Road 64 in Bradenton Monday afternoon as temperatures were plummeting. They decided to help get the woman out of the cold and into a hotel room nearby.

"We just wanted to make sure that she was safe, got her into the motel," said Weston.

The woman, Lara White-Dam, had been camping out around the gas station area in the cold temperatures for nearly 12 hours, after the person she was with desserted her and her animals, stranding her.  She says the kind gesture from Weston and her husband rescued her from a potentially dangerous situation.

"The weather started to drop and the little pups I tried to wrap in the underwear and tried to put them in my clothes so that they would stay warm," said White-Dam.  "And then it started raining and that made it worse."

In addition to the hotel room, folks have donated dog food, sneakers and other items.  White-Dam tells us she's forever grateful for all those who have helped.

"I'm speechless, it's something I would do, helping somebody," said White-Dam.

White-Dam says none of the cold weather shelters would allow her because of the animals, so she was stuck.  This is something that the Westons were surprised to hear.

"There are facilities for the homeless, there are facilities for homeless pets and unwanted pets, but you can't put the two together, I don't quite understand that," said Weston.

One cold weather shelter on the Suncoast, Grace United Methodist Church in Venice, has a policy that doesn't allow pets but they say they would allow pets on a case to case basis.  We did reach out to Manatee County's Emergency Operations but could not get an answer regarding the cold weather shelters and their policies.