Rockville Maryland officials approved a new ordinance. Many towns need to follow the lead in the laws that protect animals from cold temperatures. This comes after animal rights activists pushed to have the law passed.
The new ordinance mandates that tethered animals not be left out in cold or severe weather. A $500 fine was established and will be given to any pet owner who violates the new code. Thomas Koenig, director of the Montgomery County Animal Services Division says
“A person must not tether a dog under circumstances that endanger its health, safety, or well-being including unattended tethering of the dog during a weather emergency.”
This is an attempt to make owners be more aware of their pets during the changing weather conditions.
This ordinance may have nation-wide implications if other towns decide to follow the example in Rockville.
The American Veterinary Medical Association offers this advice for all cat and dog owners: “Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are more tolerant to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia just like humans. Thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather. Pet owners should never leave animals outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather. They also recommend that you check your dog’s paws frequently. Look for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding.
We would encourage all residents to call them if they notice an animal left out in the cold. The ordinance covers all animals left out in severe weather. Making no exceptions for the thickness of the animals’ coat length.