Lawmakers Cracking Down on Pets Being Left Out in the Cold

“No owner may 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.”


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While many states mandate that pets are not allowed to be kept outdoors in extreme weather for extended periods of time without insulated housing, others barely consider hypothermic deaths to be animal cruelty.  Fortunately, some states and municipalities are now making harsher punishments for people who allow their pets to perish in the agonizing cold.

Montgomery County, Maryland has recently taken measures to ensure that dogs specifically will not be forced to endure the winter tethered outdoors.

“A person must not tether a dog under circumstances that endanger its health, safety, or well-being including: unattended tethering of the dog during a weather emergency,” said Thomas Koenig, Montgomery County Animal Services Division.

Pet owners will be slapped with a $500 fine for violating the ordinance.  The county’s police animal services are urging residents to protect all animals – including livestock – from frostbite and hypothermia.
WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois
In Illinois, an amendment was made to the Humane Care for Animal Act stating that “no owner of a dog or cat may 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.”

Prior to this, pet owners could be charged under an umbrella animal cruelty law, but this law specifically prohibits people from leaving pets in hot cars or out in the cold.

“We had laws for animal cruelty, of course, that we used in the past but it’s nice to have more options to address these types of situations,” Elgin Animal Control Officer Matt Ciesielczyk told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s nice to have another tool in our belt, as we say.”


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In 2014, the Elgin Police Department launched a campaigned called “Too Hot for Spot,” which was designed to keep pets from being left unattended in hot vehicles.  Fliers were put up to warn people that brain damage and death can occur in as little as 15 minutes.

“We saw a need several years ago and we tried to address it. We try to focus on prevention of it and not address after we find out about it,” Ciesielczyk said.

So just remember – if you see something, say something.  If you see a dog outside for hours with no insulated shelter, or if you hear a dog outside barking, howling, or crying for an extended period of time, call the police.  Cats are difficult to catch, and even when cold, are often too frightened to let people get them inside (especially ferals).  You can create shelters for outdoor cats using plastic totes, straw, and Styrofoam coolers. Shelters can be built for dogs using much larger totes.  You can also help by providing them with fresh food and water daily.  Dry food can be coated with lard or bacon grease to help keep dogs and cats plump enough to survive, especially if they don’t receive meals regularly.



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Remember to keep shelters high enough so they aren’t sitting in water or covered in snow – perhaps on an old table that cats can easily leap onto, and for dogs, a couple of pallets.  It’s better to cut two entrances so a cat can escape if another animal tries to enter the shelter.  Some cats won’t use the shelters if they think they’ll be trapped this way.  Dogs generally only need one entry.  Face the entrances away from the wind, and make sure to put something heavy – like a brick – on top of the shelter to keep it from blowing away.  For extra warmth, you can purchase a self-warming pad (that reflects body heat) here on Amazon.  They also offer them in larger sizes, so if you have a neighbor who refuses to bring their dog in, and local police won’t do anything about it, you can at least provide their dog with a bit of life-saving comfort.


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329 thoughts on “Lawmakers Cracking Down on Pets Being Left Out in the Cold

  1. Animal abuse is so terribly cruel. The perpetrators of this crime should have the same thing done to them as they did to the animals. No living creature should ever be subjected to torture as these poor dogs were. Those that committed these horrific acts are less than human.

  2. Please include the muslims who are injecting dogs with acid to kill them slowly while in agony or hanging them and beating them to death. This goes far beyond cruelty and is torture. The screams of these poor animals is unbearable.

  3. The saddest part of all this is that we need laws to protect animals. Why can’t people simply do what’s right, and give their pets the respect that any living being deserves?

  4. I would share on FB, ……… BUT
    the PHOTOS are relatively repulsive,,, and have no captions / explanations
    hence some of the intended audience will turn away.?
    If you could make a message that can be read without the harsh reality, I think you would effectively reach more people

  5. Saw way to much of this when I worked AC back in the late 90’s. Sadly it was just a misdemeanor at that time and they got a slap on the wrist if that much.
    What I would have like to have done to the people that did that to animals, would not have been legal.

  6. If people don’t have enough sense to bring an animal inside during the cold or hot weather then they shouldn’t have or own an animal.

  7. If you’re to fucking stupid and lazy to let your dog inside when it’s cold, or if you think leaving your dog in a hot car is alright, then go for a swim in a wood chipper.

  8. Do not give the owner a warning, just take the dog away from him. This owner is adult enough to know what is right and wrong. Better option drag the owner out of his house put a collar around his neck and let him spent the night out in the cold.

  9. These people have absolutely no business having a pet, you don’t hang your pet outside to die. I hate people like this and unfortunately too many of them exists. Should be serious jail time. Leave your pet outside you do the time.

  10. I have boots and a hat for my dog but I still don’t let him stay outside any longer than it takes for him to do his business. Whenever I see anything that appears to be animal abuse, I call animal control!

  11. Wtf is wrong with people, look at that poor dog, which I assume is dead. I just rescued 6 puppies tonight from the cold, at a gargage dump!!

  12. Spend the night with your dog/cat outside, in a car or wherever you feel you need to leave them that isn’t safe and see what happens to you. Oh did I mention, you need to be “dressed” they same as they are.

  13. This is sickening and heartbreaking, the person responsible should be imprisoned. Killed a Dog that would have gave her life to defend her owner and this is what the a-hole does, just a stupid bastard.

  14. My babies currently under a quilt on the sofa then going up to bed with me ! While at work heating left on in the house , lights and radio with access to the garden via dog flap ! They didn’t chose a working family I chose to have them so their needs come first ! Be responsible you wouldn’t leave a child out in the cold so why your loyal pet !

  15. Just my opinion.. Some dogs are bred and have been bred to be outside in the cold… We have an Anatolian/gp he is a livestock guardian dog, he has heat lamp and straw in barn and most of the time refuses to go to barn.. Just saying

  16. We have a stray cat that’s been hanging around for a couple of weeks now and I couldn’t stand the thought of him being out in the blizzard that is headed our way, so an emergency trip to the vet for a feline leukemia test to make sure he isn’t sick and he is now staying in our warm home. The other cats aren’t too pleased about though, lol

  17. People are so ignorant. They think since the dog has fur it is going to be fine no matter how short the fur is! Think!!!! I have two dogs. One is a cold loving dog who just comes alive in the worst weather(little weirdo) but he’s built for it…short time..on a leash or supervised on a country romp. The other is a lap dog. He loves going out but in extreme cold he does his business and back in or even has pee pads during extreme temperatures, otherwise he just shakes. But he really HATES being left behind. Common sense!!!!

  18. A state that says its OK to leave domestic animals out to freeze? I’d like to see a list… Those states we all should never do business with…

  19. I am in the UK so our weather is not as unforgiving as in some States of America or parts of Europe, but, what I don’t understand and never will is why have a dog or cat and leave it to live it’s life outside? Am I missing something? We chose to have dogs or cats as pets then for pity’s sake why do we neglect them, leave them in terrible situations and expect them to thrive… If that is how you want to treat them then don’t get a dog,cat, get a stuffed toy instead!

  20. Please if anyone sees an animal outside in the cold in the snow just bring that poor baby inside to keep it warm and safe.What is wrong with people!!!!! What if they were outside they wouldn’t be able to stand the cold so don’t do it to God’s beautiful creatures.

  21. Dumb ass people, boxers are not outside animals in winter or summer. Not enough body fat. I’d like to find the owners of these poor defenseless animals and stick them out in the cold!!!

  22. This just breaks my heart ,, how can you not think that the poor dog outside I’m the ice and snow is not going to freeze to death like you would !!!! I just don’t get it ,, the level of stupidity ,, ignorance and laziness is unbelievable . If you can’t look after your dog properly then give it to someone who can . Please stop abusing these amazing animals .

  23. what a disgrace & horrible how people can BE..put your A$$ out there…. see how it feels…..the dog is malnourished/dead…people shouldn’t have animals if is how you treat them.. oh & the fine should $5000. then maybe the morons that do this…. would maybe think twice…..animals life’s matter too… change the law..& stop animal cruelty & abuse NOW…….!!!! appalled..

  24. This headline anger s me so much! That a state? A state is a society,a group of people,a government,why?? How come such a hedious state need to happen,for a dog or any animal to die? In a extreme weather ,left outside??? Im missing the link here.. So a state had to come to a solution to stop this from happening? Why does it happen? Are people so damn stupid,are people lacking on love for their pets? Massive check right? Well.. Why fuckin get a dog or any animal in the first place!?!? Uuuugh damn this ????

  25. Sickening to see these photos of boxers and cihuahua’s any short coated animal in the winter needs to be indoors except for walks and to go potty! Oh and the other reason dogs shouldn’t be alone outside is that they are pack animals and thrive with socialization…you should never leave your dog outside alone to sleep, EVER!!!

  26. There’s a lot of people posting on these websites that like to argue that it’s okay to leave their pets outside because of different dumb excuses! You can’t change their uncompassionate, uncaring ways for their pets who they shouldn’t own in the first place. I feel that they are the abusers!! Beware I will report animal abusers!!

  27. This breaks my heart. What I would do for more time with my boy and people just toss these innocent creatures that only exist to make us happy. Humans suck ass.

  28. I catch anyone with an animal outside & looks malnurished is not going to live long. I’d lock them out in the cold & sit in their warm home with the dogs

  29. Gabriela Dias vc viu isso? To vendo um monte de post rolando na net de gnt sem noçao deixando os cachorros congelando do lado de fora. ???

  30. i use to work at a animal shelter, one abuse case we had, they found him guilty and and all he got was court cost of 75.00. it should be more. if a pet owner wouldnt sleep out in the cold, why would they think a dog would want to do it. some people dont deserve pets.

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