It’s Now Illegal in VA to Leave a Dog Chained Outside in The Cold  

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Tethered dog in snow Keywords: companion animals, dog, stock

As temperatures drop, PETA is alerting dog guardians to a new state law that prohibits leaving dogs chained up or tethered outside when the temperature is 32 degrees or below—and reminding them to take their dogs indoors or face legal consequences.

“Dogs are flesh and blood, not picnic tables, so if it’s too cold outside for you, it’s too cold for your dog!” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “Animals depend on us for everything from food, water, and shelter to keeping them safe and happy—and the law now recognizes that that includes not leaving them to shiver in the cold.”

Dogs chained outdoors around the clock are deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them. They spend their days and nights isolated and robbed of the social interaction they crave as pack animals.

No living being can thrive while confined to the same few square feet of space 24/7, forced to eat and sleep near or even in their own waste. In the winter, dogs left outside have been found suffering from frostbite and exposure, and in the summer, heatstroke. All year round, they become tangled in their chains and perish when they’re unable to reach food, water, or shelter.

Chaining dogs outdoors is dangerous and cruel, which is why—at PETA’s urging and with its ongoing advocacy and support—Virginia legislators voted to prohibit leaving dogs tethered outdoors during extreme weather. State law also requires that dogs who are kept outdoors, tethered or not, be provided with insulating straw or other bedding and that doghouses have a windbreak to help protect animals from the cold.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—urges anyone who sees neglect to report it to local authorities. Witnesses should take pictures from public property and note how long an animal is left without adequate food, water, or shelter.