RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers have passed legislation that would prohibit the tethering of dogs outside during extreme weather. The legislation would also increase the minimum length of a tether from 10 feet to 15 feet.
Virginia’s House and Senate passed the bills on Sunday. Gov. Ralph Northam’s spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, said in an email Monday that he “supported these bills in the legislative process” and ”looks forward to reviewing them” when they reach his desk.
Animal advocacy groups say the legislation would save dogs’ lives in a state that often experiences extreme temperatures and severe storms.
The legislation expands the definition of what it means to provide “adequate shelter.” It prevents leaving tethered dogs outside when the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below and 85 degrees or higher. The same applies during warnings for hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather.
The legislation was hailed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which pushed for its passage for several years.
“Many dogs who are chained up like bicycles, alone and uncared for, will now be spared frostbite, baking to death during Virginia’s stifling summers, and even drowning during severe weather — all circumstances that PETA has found,” PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said in a statement.
PETA urges anyone who witnesses neglect to report it to local authorities. If possible, witnesses should take pictures and note how long an animal is left without adequate food, water, or shelter.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.