TRENTON, N.J. — As a result of two dogs freezing to death in winter’s harsh temperatures, New Jersey State lawmakers are looking to introduce legislation that will properly define what shelter means for dogs that are left outside during the cold weather.
State Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Gregory McGuckin and David Wolfe (all R- Ocean) hope that the clarified and specific rules in the bill will help keep dogs out of danger.
Under the new legislation, no dogs can be tied up outside in New Jersey:
- between 11 p.m. and 6 A.M.
- with less than a 12 foot long tether
- with less than 12 feet to walk in any one direction
- when the outdoor ambient temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below
- during “adverse weather” like wind, rain, snow, ice, sleet or hail storms
Dogs who are confined outside must be given shelter that meet minimum standards, such as:
- adequate ventilation to stay dry and maintain a normal body temperature
- access to water in a “sanitary and liquid state”
- exposure to light according to a regular cycle of day and night
- enough room for the dog to easily turn around in a full circle and lie down on its side, with limbs outstretched
- at least 3 inches of empty space above the dog’s head when the dog is sitting or standing
If the dog must be outside during “adverse weather conditions” for longer than 30 minutes, the dog shelter must have:
- a roof, walls and a floor that is not the ground
- adequate insulation and dry bedding to allow the dog to remain dry and maintain a normal body temperature
- a windbreak
Anyone who violates this bill will receive a fine of $100 for the first offense or 30 days in jail, a fine of $200 for a second offense or 30 days in jail and a fine of $250 to $500 for a third offense which could include up to three months in jail.
With the creation of an “Endangerment” Statute along side the bill, lawmakers hope that they can protect dogs before they are in a situation that will lead to animal cruelty charges.
Although these new fines seem small, this definitely a step is the right direction for the future safety our of beloved pets.
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