VINELAND – Frigid temperatures and a forecast for snow have the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals phones buzzing with people reporting animals left outside.“We are getting slammed with calls,” SPCA executive director Bev Greco told The Daily Journal on Wednesday.People are reporting violators of the new “tethering law.” Greco hopes education will encourage compliance with the new legislation that cracks down on keeping dogs chained outside and leaving them unattended for prolonged periods of time.
Dogs may no longer be tied up outside between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., Greco said. If a dog is chained more than a half-hour during the day, it must be attached to a lightweight chain or rope that’s at least 15-feet long, giving it access to clean water and adequate shelter.During harsh weather conditions, like those the area is now experiencing, dogs may not be tied up outside for more than 30 minutes without supervision, the law states.The SPCA is trying to respond to each reported violation but are now facing manpower and shelter space issues, Greco said. All 58 dog runs are occupied.On Wednesday, the shelter took in four dogs from Millville and four dogs from Stow Creek.
When possible, bring the animal into the house, she said. If the pet isn’t permitted in the living area, Greco suggested sheltering the animal in the basement or garage.If that is not an option, she said a shed may be used but only if the dog house or cat box is moved inside too. These smaller contained shelters help an animal retain its body heat, she said.A dog house should be just large enough for a dog to stand in and be able turn around, Greco said. It should also have a flap to keep out the rough weather.The shelters should have straw for warmth, she said, discouraging the use of blankets because they hold moisture.Thanking the public for being vigilant, Greco said, the two SPCA cruelty investigators are responding to as many calls as possible.
Municipal animal control officers and Vineland Police are also pitching in, she said.Greco urged the public not to wait until extreme conditions to call if they see an animal welfare issue. It can help if animal investigators can address these condition issues over time.Those who fail to comply with the new law may be issued a summons, Greco said.