As the temperature continues to drop, it’s important to ensure that your dog stays as warm and cozy as possible — after all, just because they’re covered in fur doesn’t mean they are built to withstand freezing temperatures!
Legislators in Ohio have proposed a law that would make leaving dogs and other animals outside in extreme temperatures for extended periods of time, without adequate shelter, punishable by fines and possibly even jail time. House Bill 94 is still awaiting approval but many feel it’s a necessary step in bridging the gap between what is legal pet care and what is responsible pet care.
Currently, there is very minimal regulation. There is simply a vague ordinance stating that so long as an animal is healthy and has access to shelter of any kind they may be kept outdoors, regardless of the weather. That simply isn’t good enough for many animal advocates who are heartbroken to see countless dogs left out in the cold everyday.
The new legislation is very specific. It states that it will be illegal to:
-The dog cannot be tethered for more than two consecutive hours without at least an hour between tetherings.
-Dogs cannot be outdoors between the hours of ten p.m. and six a.m.
-Dogs cannot be left outside for an extended period of time if a heat or cold advisory or a severe weather warning has been issued by the national weather service for the area.
Additionally, there are regulations to the type of tether:
-It cannot allow the animal to touch a fence or cross the property line.
-The tether cannot be attached by means of a pinch-type, prong-type, or choke-type collar, or a collar that is not properly fitted.
-The dog must not be in danger of being injured or becoming tangled by the tether.
-It must be made of a material that is unsuitable for the animal’s size and weight or that causes any unnecessary discomfort to the animal.
-The animal must have a sanitary environment that is free of an accumulation of feces or other waste and insect or rodent infestation and of foul odor;
-There must be someone home during times the animals are tethered outdoors.
Kerry Manion is the Chief Humane Agent of the Capital Area Humane Society and he told NBC4 that they receive 30-40 calls per day from citizens who are concerned about dogs tethered outside in heavy snow and temperatures well below freezing.
Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia. Manion states that if you must leave your dog outdoors, they need to be a dog with a warm, thick undercoat (not a short-haired dog) who has access to food, a heated water bowl, and a straw-lined shelter that’s able to block the wind. But, ideally and whenever possible, bring them inside.
Check out a local news story about the new law: