In New York State, it's against the law to leave your pets unprotected in life-threatening weather conditions such as dangerously low wind chills and frigid temperatures.

A dangerously cold and blustery Arctic air mass will remain over central New York, bringing the coldest temperatures and wind chills this season. Please remember to keep an eye on not only your pets but all pets.

If it’s too cold outside for you, it’s too cold for your pet. Do not let them stay outdoors for too long and watch for frostbite signs such as shivering or holding their paws up. If you see these signs, it is time to take them indoors and keep them warm and safe.

Know The Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia:

The risk of these conditions rises significantly when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Signs of hypothermia include slow pulse, shallow breathing, collapse or unconsciousness. Frostbite affects poorly insulated body parts like ears and paws. If you notice any symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia after your pet has been outdoors, contact your vet immediately. [My Waggle ]

Never leave your pet in the car for an extended period of time during the winter. Once you’ve turned your car’s engine off and the heater stops, temperatures inside the vehicle drop quickly.

According to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, "inclement weather" means weather conditions that are likely to adversely affect the dog's health or safety, including but not limited to rain, sleet, ice, snow, wind, or extreme heat and cold.

The law also states that any person who owns or has custody or control of a dog that is left outdoors shall provide it with shelter appropriate to its breed, physical condition, and climate.

Shelter MUST Include:

  • Shade by natural or artificial means to protect the dog from direct sunlight at all times when exposure to sunlight is likely to threaten the health of the dog.
  • Have a waterproof roof.
  • Be structurally sound with insulation appropriate to local climatic conditions and sufficient to protect the dog from inclement weather.
  • Be constructed to allow each dog adequate freedom of movement to make normal postural adjustments, including the ability to stand up, turn around and lie down with its limbs outstretched.
  • Allow for effective removal of excretions, other waste material, dirt, and trash.
  • The housing facility and the area immediately surrounding it shall be regularly cleaned to maintain a healthy and sanitary environment and minimize health hazards.

Those who violate Article 26 Animal Laws are subject to fines up to $250.00 and seizure of the animal.

Governor Cuomo also signed legislation allowing first responders to save animals from motor vehicles under conditions that endanger their health or well-being effective immediately. Governor Cuomo:

"Leaving a pet in a stifling hot or freezing cold car is inhumane and potentially dangerous, and emergency responders should have the ability to remove them if necessary. As a dog owner myself, I am proud to sign this measure into law to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of animals."

Medical service personnel and firefighters can now act quickly to save a pet from extreme hot or cold temperatures inside a vehicle, but they are the only ones that will not be held liable. Concerned citizens and good samaritans are not included in the bill.

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