PA Law Makes it Illegal to Leave Dogs Outside in Freezing Weather

Sad Dog in the Snow

As temperatures start to drop during this winter season, the Ferguson Township Police Department would like to remind residents of the legal consequences for leaving your dog outside in freezing weather.

Libre's Law, signed by Governor Tom Wolf back in August 2017, includes a section regarding tethering or chaining dogs outdoors, which typically occurs in an owner's backyard. With this new law, dogs are not allowed to be tethered outside for more than 30 minutes if the temperature is over 90 degrees or under 32 degrees. The Humane Society of the United States considers long-term teathering inhumane. Not only can dogs suffer from hypothermia or heat exhaustion from being kept outside in extreme conditions, they can develop psychological issues from being isolated. Some chained dogs develop sores around their neck from ill-fitting collars and pulling on the tether. Specifications for a proper tether are "a type commonly used for the size and breed of dog and is at least three times the length of the dog as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail or 10 feet, whichever is longer".

Violations are considered neglect under the law and legal action may be taken. You can find the full Act here. If you suspect a dog, contact the Ferguson Township Police Department here.