The weather outside has been downright frightful lately, with extremely low temperatures, snow and ice and, well, even bomb cyclones. One reminder during these extreme weather conditions is the safety of your pets.  A recent unfortunate event in Connecticut led to a dog being frozen to death after being left outdoors under extremely cold circumstances for an extended period of time, and these events have been occurring more frequently in many states over the past few weeks as the temperatures dropped significantly.  The incident in Connecticut led to animal cruelty charges being filed against the individual that left the dog outside in the extreme cold for an extended period of time.  See https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Dog-Found-Dead-After-Being-Left-Outside-in-the-Cold-in-Hartford-467707473.html.

There is law in Connecticut which specifically prohibits a person tethering a dog during extreme weather conditions.  Specifically, General Statutes § 22-350a states that “[n]o person shall tether a dog outdoors to a stationary object or to a mobile device, including, but not limited to, a trolley or pulley, when a weather advisory or warning is issued by local, state or federal authorities or when outdoor environmental conditions, including, but not limited to extreme heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or hail, pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of such dog based on such dog’s breed, age or physical condition, unless tethering is for a duration of not longer than fifteen minutes.”  The statute further states that “[a]ny person who confines or tethers a dog for an unreasonable period of time or in violation of [these provisions] shall be fined one hundred dollars for the first offense, two hundred dollars for a second offense, and not less than two hundred fifty dollars or more than five hundred dollars for a third or subsequent offense.”

Clearly, the current temperatures and weather conditions would qualify as being too extreme to leave any pet outdoors for any extended period of time, whether tethered or not.  Leaving a pet outdoors in such conditions could result in fines as referenced above or, in even more extreme situations such as the one referenced above, could result in animal cruelty charges.  Please keep the safety of your pets in mind at all times and, if you see an animal being kept in an unsafe condition, please report it to your local animal control officer.


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