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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 22, 2021 02:57 PM
From: Representative Joseph C. Hohenstein
To: All House members
Subject: Co-sponsorship request: Extreme Weather Protection for Dogs

        The way a dog’s body is designed makes it more susceptible than most species to heat stroke. On a typical summer day, exposure to direct heat, without the reprieve of shelter or shade can have fatal consequences. Without cooler air to regulate its body temperature, a dog’s body temperature rises, its protein structures begin to fail, the linings of its blood vessels become damaged, and the blood begins to clot. Once that happens, the heart, liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract begin to fail, causing brain damage and, eventually, death. In temperatures above 110 degrees, this whole process can take anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes.
      Libre’s Law, passed in 2017, provided some protection for dogs tethered in temperatures above 90 degrees and below 32 degrees by prohibiting such outdoor tethering for periods longer than 30 minutes. As you can see, this time period needs to be even shorter for dogs to receive adequate protection from the permanent damage that extreme heat and cold can cause.  Therefore, I will be introducing a companion bill to Senator Kim Ward’s Senate Bill 551 that:

  • Prohibits any dog from being left outside and unattended for more than 15 minutes when the temperature is above 90 degrees or below 32 degrees or when a severe weather advisory or warning has been issued for the area;
  • Requires shelters to be raised, moisture- and wind-proof, non-metal structures with roofs that prevent rain from entering inside for any dog kept outside for more than 30 minutes;
  • Requires shelters to have a windbreak at the entrance and bedding that must provide insulation and protection against cold and dampness during cold winter months; and
  • Requires areas of shade outside the structure to be provided to protect the dog from direct rays of sun during hot summer months.
       Not one of us would endanger our children by leaving them in the hot sun or freezing cold for long periods of time without adequate shelter. Dogs, who are often thought of as family members, do not deserve this treatment either. Please consider supporting this legislation, as it could save the lives of countless canine friends.

Introduced as HB337