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Fact Sheet - Extreme Weather Protection bill for Chained Dogs

 Support HB-153 the Extreme Weather Protection Bill



Support the Extreme Weather Protection Bill for Chained Dogs

HB-153 amends the existing dog tethering law (Crim. Law Sec. 10-623) to prohibit leaving a dog outside if chained or tethered and unattended in extreme weather.

What does the Extreme Weather Protection bill do?

Maryland’s animal cruelty laws do not address the inhumane practice of continuous chaining or tethering of dogs and their exposure to dangerous and extreme weather conditions.

Chained dog extreme weatherThe Extreme Weather Protection bill provides that a chained or tethered dog cannot be left outside unattended if:

- a hazardous weather warning is issued by the National Weather Service for the local area;
- the local temperature is freezing or below;
- the local temperature is 100 degrees or more.

A violation of Maryland’s existing animal cruelty tethering law is a misdemeanor, and the penalty for violating the extreme weather provision would be a 1,000 maximum fine.

Examples of NWS hazardous warnings include Wind Chill Warning (wind chill of minus -20F or lower), Blizzard and Ice Storm Warning, Extreme Wind Warning (winds of 115 mph or greater), Flood Warning (imminent or occurring). The bill specifies that the amount of time a dog can be chained outside in this type of extreme weather is 15 min., or in extreme temperatures for a 1 hr period.

Why is this law needed?

Tethered and chained dogs need protection from inhumane conditions in extreme weather. From the neglected puppy tied-out to a pole who suffers painful and debilitating frostbite, to the abused dog frozen to the ground at the end of a heavy chain, dogs are suffering as a result of being tied and chained outside in hazardous weather.

State law does not require pets to be brought inside during extreme weather and the tethering law lacks specific protections for dogs in extreme weather. Law enforcement, animal control, rescue organizations, and citizens need the specificity this bill provides to better ensure the humane treatment of tethered dogs. Animal control and rescue workers have seen the devastating effects of dogs suffering seizures, heatstroke, hypothermia, and death after being chained or tethered in extreme heat, weather, or frigid temperatures. This bill provides needed specifics for the protection of tethered dogs.

Several other states and localities have passed laws prohibiting the tethering of pets during extreme weather, including laws passed in Texas and in Connecticut. Maryland must act to protect chained dogs from these extreme conditions which endanger their life and health.

The American Veterinarian Medical Association position on extreme temperatures is clear: “Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside….no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.” The AVMA has warned about heat risks and explained that pets are more susceptible to heat stroke than we are. Animals suffer the consequences of extreme heat exposure and can die of heat stroke or suffer brain damage.

Please support HB-153 the Extreme Weather Protection Bill for Tethered Dogs

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