SUPPORT: Crimes – Unattended Dogs in Extreme Weather Conditions and Heat – SB 44/HB 16
SB 44/HB 16 requires that dogs left unattended in extreme weather and heat have shelter that meets some clear, minimal standards. While Maryland law requires that dogs left unattended or tethered outside have “shelter’, there is no definition for that term, leaving dogs without protection in adverse weather conditions. SB 44/HB 16 prohibits a dog from being left outside and unattended during extreme weather conditions and heat for longer than a specified period without access to shelter or shade as defined in the bill. These requirements will establish statewide minimum standards to protect unattended dogs left outside from suffering in frigid temperatures or sweltering heat.
By the time animal control officers are called, dogs are often suffering from hypothermia or heat stroke after being outdoors for long periods of time in extreme weather conditions. Maryland families and children are deeply affected by the cruelty they witness when neighborhood dogs are left outside in extreme temperatures and weather. This bill will provide a consistent standard across Maryland that does not change as a dog is moved between jurisdictions.
Establishing guidelines about dogs left outdoors enables animal control officers to intervene before a dog shows symptoms of acute distress. Moreover, adding clarity to the law can foster both public awareness and compliance, which could potentially avert some of these life-threatening situations before they occur.
Let’s make 2022 the year that we protect dogs suffering outside in extreme weather and heat!
Please contact your legislators and tell them that you SUPPORT SB 44/HB 16!