Friday, 10 November 2017 15:25

Porky & Buddy Column: Protecting Your Pet During Bad Weather

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Dear Readers: It’s that time of year again here in Oswego County when we start to get phone calls about dogs left out in the cold. 

We can use the help of kind-hearted animal lovers with this problem. Here is what you need to know:

Section 353-b of the New York Agriculture & Markets Law requires that if your dog spends any time outdoors, you must provide shelter to protect the dog from direct sunlight, rain, snow, wind, cold weather, hot weather, and other inclement conditions. The shelter must be waterproof, appropriately insulated, and it must allow the dog to move around freely. The dog must be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down. It has to be constructed in a way that allows for effective removal of waste material, dirt, and trash and the area surrounding the shelter and the shelter itself must be regularly cleaned.

Obviously, a full grown Siberian Husky needs less in the way of such shelter than say, a Chihuahua, and the statute specifies that the shelter provided must be appropriate for the dog’s breed and physical condition. But still, under the porch won’t do; an old plastic barrel won’t do; an old packing crate set on bare dirt won’t do; the area underneath an abandoned vehicle won’t do.

For a first offense fines can range from $50.00 to $100.00. For a second or any subsequent offense, fines can range from $100.00 to $250.00. Once seventy-two (72) hours have passed after a violation has been charged, each new day the violation is not remedied is a new violation. With payment of the fine, the owner must also provide proof that a proper shelter has been obtained. A dog may be seized by law enforcement officers based on violation of this section.

So if you see a dog in dire straits such as this you can start by calling your Town or City dog control officer and ask that he or she intervene. DCO’s don’t have law enforcement powers, generally, but they know what satisfies the statute and what does not and they know when it is appropriate to call in law enforcement. If that approach doesn’t work for some reason, you can call 911 to report the violation yourself. Remember that if you call 911 you can’t report anonymously—you have to be willing to give your name as a witness to what you saw. But that doesn’t seem like too much to ask to protect a dog in trouble. Feel free to call the Oswego County Humane Society if you have more questions or want more guidance about what to do.

And thanks in advance for helping us look out for the safety of dogs.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Located at 29 West Seneca Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 2,07-1070. Email: [email protected] Website: Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other

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