Could you imagine being forced to remain outdoors with just your jacket to keep you warm during the long winter nights? What if you didn’t have a nice place to sit that was warm and dry? You’d become very wet and very cold. The nights would seem long and endless and quite unbearable.
What if it’s July and the sun is beaming down on you? Instead of needing a warm and dry place to rest, you need a cool patch of shade, preferably one with water. You’re still wearing your jacket. You wish you could remove it but you can’t. You’re growing overheated and there isn’t enough water in the world to keep you hydrated.
This isn’t a scenario most human beings endure, thankfully. However, it is a situation dogs who are kept outdoors face on a regular basis during the harsh, cold long winter and long heated days of summer. These pets aren’t better off remaining outdoors. Yes, they do have a thicker fur coat. Their hair can become damp and matted, allowing them to freeze during frigid temperatures or to become exceedingly hot in the summertime.
Pennsylvania has passed a law that makes it illegal for dogs to be kept outdoors for longer than half an hour during extremely hot or cold temperatures. Owners can’t leave their pets tied up if it’s colder than 32 degrees Farenhite or warmer then 90 degrees.
This law was named to honor a puppy named Libre who was rescued from a terrible living situation in southern Lancaster County. Though only seven weeks old, Libre endured more neglect and abuse than any animal should. It was doubtful if little Libre would survive. Thanks to the brave actions of a good samaritan who tipped off animal rescuers, he was saved and has recovered from his horrible ordeal.
Residents caught breaking Libre’s Law will face a stiff fine and jail time from six months to a year. Jennifer Nields, cruelty officer for the Lancaster County Animal Coalition, had this to say: “This won’t stop cruelty, but it will put an emphasis on the importance of justice for their suffering. The laws are recognition of their pain and what they deserve.”
The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association calls Libre’s Law an “incredible victory for animals.” Now that one state has taken the lead to protect animals during severe temperatures, perhaps others will take note and follow suit.
It’s inhumane and beyond cruel to have a dog live outdoors. There’s no reason for an owner to keep their dog chained to a fence or post. If it’s the animal’s behavior that’s a cause for concern, there are obedience classes and experts to turn to for advice.
Hopefully, more residents of Pennsylvania will be made aware of this law and will take action to report any offenders who cross their path. Don’t stand for this sort of animal cruelty. Do your part to protect the animals who can’t speak up for themselves.
As colder weather approaches, it’s really important to keep these laws in mind and be aware of what you can do if you see an animal in need!
Here’s what you can do if you see a dog left outside in the cold
We turned to our friends at the Humane Society for advice, and this is what they suggest if you see a pet left outside in the cold.
#1 Report What You See.
Also, be sure to take note of the time, date and your exact location, along with the types of animals involved. Cell phone photos and videos are highly encouraged.
#2 Contact Your Local Animal Control Agency or the County Sheriff’s Office
Next, present your complaints and evidence gathered to the resource officer on duty. Be sure to make a respectful follow up within a few days if the situation hasn’t been remedied.
#3 Get Expert Advice
Lastly, the Humane Society also suggests contacting the HSUS or emailing them directly. Because they are not a law-enforcement agency, they cannot take legal action, but are there to provide expert counsel.