PENNSYLVANIA'S POTENTIAL DOG TETHER LAW MISGUIDED
The Pennsylvania Senate recently passed SB 373, which amends the state’s cruelty laws to cover outdoor dogs. In the revised law, Pennsylvania citizens would no longer be able to tether their canines outdoors in inclement weather, and no more than 30 minutes at a time if the temperature is below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees.
On the surface, some may think that this sounds like a good idea. “Keeping your pet sheltered from cold or hot weather, of course!”
That is a bit off base. This bill is misguided its attempts to protect animals, because in most cases they don’t need such protections.
Most dogs can easily handle temperatures at those ranges. Their tolerance for extreme weather is much greater than humans due to their coats, which help to regulate body temperature in various climates. It is not recommended by veterinary experts that you bring a pet indoors until it drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, if the pet doesn’t already have a ready-made shelter. This is different for puppies, though, whom should be brought inside after the temperature hits 40 degrees.
Keeping a dog tethered outside is necessary for many dog owners, who go away to work and can’t leave their pet indoors for any number of reasons.
This bill would also affect winter dog sports, search and rescue, and field trials. These dogs are trained in cold weather in order to fulfill their tasks. These industries would be greatly hindered by these unnecessary requirements.
In addition, dog owners would be required to build new shelters that would meet the new standards for shelter and bedding. These include moisture-proof floors raised 3 inches from the ground, at least 3 sides so that it is wind-proof, and an 8-inch overhanging roof. These requirements would force dog owners, breeders, and sportsmen to “custom-build new dog houses”.
Under current Pennsylvania laws, it is already illegal “to deprive any animal of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather and preserve the animal's body heat and keep it dry”. The new law would provide overregulation in an instance where it will simply be burdensome to dog owners in the state.
Just how far will regulations of pet ownership go? Is it unreasonable to think that one day animal rights activists could use momentum from bills like this to pursue complete animal liberation?
Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to contact your Representatives to inform them of your opposition to this burdensome and overreaching legislation.