Many states have laws against leaving a dog in a hot car. Eleven of these states legally allow people to use any means necessary to get the dog out of the car, even if the windows must be broken.
Even states where there are no specific laws regarding dogs in hot cars have some type of legislation against animal cruelty, which often covers neglecting an animal in the heat. However, none of these states have laws to protect dogs left out in the cold – until now, that is.
Pennsylvania has just instated Libre’s Law and become the first state to set laws in place to protect animals from severe weather conditions in both the heat and cold. Libre’s Law makes it illegal to leave a dog out in temperatures below 32 degrees or higher than 90 degrees for more than 30 minutes (or more than nine hours total in any 24-hour period) may be fined or a jail sentence, according to the York Daily Record.
Libre’s Law is named for a Boston Terrier puppy, at 7 weeks old, from Southern Lancaster County, who survived terrible conditions along with serious abuse and neglect until a passerby reported his situation to the authorities.
Anyone found to be in violation of Libre’s Law is subject to a fine of up to $750 (or up to $15,000 in severe cases) as well as up to one year of jail time. Although Libre’s Law is not the first to fight against animal cruelty and neglect, it is the first in the United States to be so specific as to the conditions in which a dog may be tethered outdoors or otherwise subjected to harsh weather.
This law is yet another enacted by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, who has made animal care, rights, and welfare a significant part of his plan while in office. Libre’s Law is included in Act 10 of 2017, which encompasses a package of animal welfare laws.
Some people think you can leave a dog out in cold weather and they’ll be just fine, but that’s not the case. Yes, dogs have thick fur, but that doesn’t protect the pads of their feet or other sensitive areas that are affected by cold temperatures. A lack of consideration for these kinds of things can spell disaster for your pet. Dogs, and especially smaller breeds like Libre, need protection against the cold.
It might be a good idea to get a jacket or dog boots to protect their feet in the snow and cold. Precautions like these will prevent frostbite and other harmful weather-related issues for your dog. In extreme weather conditions, check your dog for any problems and try to prevent them.
Of course, accidents happen, but you can take measures to keep your dog as healthy as possible, including yearly visits to the veterinarian and being attentive to your dogs needs in different types of weather.
What wonderful news! Now, we hope that more states and other countries follow this example and introduce laws to protect our furry friends!