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New Law In NJ Improves Standards of Care For Dogs, Other Animals

Paws Up!
January 5, 2017

To New Jersey Sen. Jeff Van Drew for sponsoring a bill to protect dogs from adverse weather and tethering. The bill was recently signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.

According to a recent news article, New Jersey has passed a statewide law to prevent animal suffering. Before this law, it was up to individual cities, counties, and townships to pass extreme weather and dog tethering ordinances at their discretion. Now, every dog owner in New Jersey will be required to provide a minimum standard of care to protect dogs from the elements. No domestic companion animal shall be exposed to adverse outdoor weather for more than 30 minutes, unless the animal has unencumbered access to sufficient shelter. Adverse conditions are defined as temperature below 32 degrees and or when, snow, sleet, or hail. The law also provides a standard for the quality of the shelter provided. No dog may be tethered between 11pm and 5am.

The new law also addresses the responsibilities animal owners have to their pets in an emergency evacuation. The owner must make every reasonable effort to take their animals with them in a natural disaster or emergency. If bringing a companion animal along is not possible, the animal cannot be left or tethered outside. The animal must be left safely indoors and the owners are required to let first responders know the animal is in the house.

Take action.  Contact your state legislators and encourage them to pass statewide laws to protect animals from extreme weather. See our sample action letter below.

Dear [Legislator’s Name]

My name is [Your Name] and I am a resident of [Your State]. I am writing you to encourage you to introduce and support legislation that would protect dogs from cruel tethering, especially in inclement weather. Dog tethering describes a practice in which dog owners tether their dogs outdoors to a stationary object for extended periods of time. In some cases, chained dogs may be tethered for days, months, or even years. Dog chaining poses serious threats to a dog’s physical and psychological well-being. Due to the inhumane nature of continuous dog chaining, many cities and counties are passing local laws to ban the practice. New Jersey just passed a statewide law to protect dogs from continuous tethering, and tethering in inclement weather conditions. I hope you will consider introducing or supporting much-needed legislation of this kind in our state.

[Your Name]


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