Dogs are the most popular pets in the world, especially in the United States. As of 2017, there were more than 89.7 million dogs scattered in households across the US. Although most of the dog owners treat their pet friends with extreme care and love, just like a part of their family, yet there are some who intentionally or unintentionally shows negligence in the treatment of their dogs.
When it’s incredibly cold or incredibly hot, most humans don’t want to spend a lot of time outside. Now there’s an increasing amount of legislation that aims to make sure pet owners follow the same logic when temperatures are extreme. But for dogs who live outdoors, the coming of the holidays just means cold weather, freezing snow and long, dark nights outside. This is the real winter for our pets.
Last summer, a law passed in June 2017 in Pennsylvania included new animal cruelty protections for pets in cold weather. Those changes go into effect now that winter weather is on the way. Act 10 says that dogs can’t be tethered outside for more than 30 minutes when temperatures are above 90 or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Pennsylvania’s new law about tethering the dogs clearly states that a dog cannot be tethered outside a home for longer than 30 minutes if the temperature is above 90°F or below 32°F. The violation of this law will result in high fines and may even lead to imprisonment.
“For far too long we have heard stories of neglected and abused animals who suffered because of deplorable treatment, and with our new landmark anti-cruelty legislation in place, penalties will be enforced for individuals who abuse or neglect an animal,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who championed the legislation.
Penalties range from $50 to $750 and up to 90 days in jail for a summary offense. Dog owners could face up to seven years in jail and/or a $15,000 fine for a third-degree felony on aggravated cruelty charges.
“The Humane Society of the United States, Pennsylvania Vet Medical Association, and a number of state and federal agencies strongly support the anti-tethering components of Act 10, which include long overdue, reasonable stipulations regarding the length of time and conditions in which a dog can be kept outside during inclement weather,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania state director of the Humane Society of the United States.
“Continuous tethering can cause severe physical damages such as cracked and bleeding paws, frostbite and hypothermia. We encourage the public to help to keep the dogs of Pennsylvania safe and warm this winter by reporting animal neglect to the local humane society police officer, local or state police. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them.”
However, thanks to the love, tenderness, and compassion of the staff at Speranza Animal Rescue, Libre lived…and flourished. He is now the face of this important advocacy work for animals’ rights, and of this law, which the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association calls an “incredible victory for animals.”
Here’s hoping that we start treating these crimes against animals with the swift and serious punishment they deserve. And, remember: If you leave your pup outside in the cold for any length of time, they need a dog house where they can retreat from the weather, preferably a shelter that is lifted off the ground, like the one pictured below, which you can find on Amazon. (This will help to provide some insulation, as the freezing cold ground can sap warmth from the body quickly.)
Dog fur might provide more warmth than a human’s skin does, but think of it this way: If you had a coat on, but you still had to sit on the wet, freezing ground for 24 hours a day, your coat would do very little to protect you from the ice-cold winter.
In neighboring Illinois, the Humane Care for Animals Act makes it illegal for owners to “expose the dog or cat in a manner that places the dog or cat in a life-threatening situation for a prolonged period of time in extreme heat or cold conditions that results in injury to or death of the animal.”
Dog owners in Marion County, Indiana (the Indianapolis area) can face a fine or even lose their pets if caught leaving their dogs outside in extreme weather. A revised city ordinance states that dogs can’t be left alone outdoors if temperatures drop below 20 degrees or climb above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.