November certainly came in with a roar.
With the temperatures dipping into the lower digits, I want to remind everyone about the laws that were recently passed in New Jersey regarding outdoor pets. This will be the first full winter that the new regulations will be in effect and our local humane law enforcement officers have the power to issue tickets if the rules are not followed.
It is unlawful to expose any dog, domestic companion animal or service animal to adverse weather conditions for more than 30 minutes, unless the animal has continuous access to proper shelter. Adverse weather conditions for cold weather are defined as the following: temperatures of 32 degrees or lower and precipitation related conditions, including but not limited to, wind, rain, snow, ice, sleet or hail.
So let's talk about proper shelter.
- It must be sound and in an upright position so that the animal can remain dry and maintain its body temperature.
- It must have a floor.
- Maintaining body heat requires that the shelter be just big enough for the animal to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably with its legs outstretched; anything larger will reduce their ability to stay warm.
- The structure must be away from flooded areas, cleared of snow, protected from precipitation and clear of debris. If the temperature is below 32 degrees, it also needs to have a windbreak.
Aside from these regulations, we need to use common sense in determining our own pet's ability to handle bad weather.
Here's hoping we won't be dealing with too much bad weather in the upcoming season, but if you have any doubts about your pet's shelter being adequate, bring him inside. If you have any doubts about someone else's pets being protected from the elements, call your local police department and ask for the humane law enforcement officer to make a report.