Protecting Pets from the Cold
In Denver, pet owners who don’t offer adequate protection for their dogs or cats in cold weather could face strict penalties, thanks to a city ordinance designed to protect animals from cruelty and/or neglect. If a cat or dog is put outside in the cold and doesn’t have access to an insulated pet house, its owner can be slapped with a $999 fine, and possibly even a year of jail time.
But Colorado's capital is not the only place instituting these kinds of measures. In 2017, the governor of Pennsylvania passed Libre’s Law, which prohibits dogs from being left outside for more than 30 minutes in temperatures below 32 degrees. The law was named after a dog that nearly died after being abandoned outside a farm during the winter. He later made a full recovery. Other places, like New Jersey, Ohio and Washington, D.C., have passed laws strengthening punishments for leaving animals out in the cold.
These laws recognize the seriousness of leaving a pet out in cold weather. In addition to frostbite, pets can also suffer from hypothermia if they are left outside for too long. Retailers should do their part to make sure that pet owners understand these risks and offer items like booties, coats and sweaters to offer protection in chilly weather. They should also advise customers to be aware of how long they leave their pets outside and to take into account their pet’s specific needs. In extremely cold weather, smaller breeds should have walks that last 4-5 minutes, while larger breeds can spend 10-15 minutes outside. By keeping these things in mind, pet owners can better protect their animal companions this winter.