Legislation is greatly needed in the State of Virginia, requiring dog owners to keep their pets indoors once the temperature drops below 35 degrees, or exceeds 85 degrees. Currently, there is no protection for dogs left outside, and severe weather poses a fatal threat to these defenseless creatures.
Rainbow is a recent example:
On the morning of January 12, 2017, a dog was found frozen to death in Accomack County, Virginia, surrounded by snow, ice, and vomit. Her neck was bound tightly by a short chain that prevented her from reaching her plastic, uninsulated igloo, and she died an agonizing death, alone.
She was named posthumously named "Rainbow."
Rainbow's owner, Jose Berlanga, was charged with one count of animal cruelty and one count of failure to provide proper shelter. General District Judge Gordon Vincent found Berlanga guilty of both counts. He was fined $650 and sentenced to 60 days in jail.
However, the entire jail sentence was suspended, as was $500 of the $650 fine. In the end, Berlanga paid a fine of $150 for Rainbow's death.
Unfortunately, it is a common practice to leave dogs outside in extreme weather. These are just a FEW cases from Virginia
The general consensus is that dogs are not susceptible to harsh climates, and that their fur makes them resistant to such temperatures. This is untrue. To the contrary, dogs suffer a great deal in these conditions.
Numerous animal welfare organizations, including the ASPCA and The Humane Society of the United States, have urged pet owners to keep their animals inside during times of extreme and inclement weather.
Recently, there have been several cases of people leaving their pets chained outside, day and night, in extreme weather. Many of these animals FROZE TO DEATH and there is NO LEGAL RECOURSE TO PROTECT THEM OR TO HOLD THEIR OWNERS ACCOUNTABLE!
We are appealing to you to help us protect our best friends!
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently signed Emergency Legislation on February 21, 2017 to protect animals from harsh weather:
See a similar law passed by Massachusetts last year:
And in Indianapolis: