Frigid weather is approaching Ohio, and that translates to harsh conditions for dogs left outside. It is illegal to leave your dog outside in the cold weather.
According to Ohio law, Ohio Revised Code 959.131(C) states, “No person who confines or who is the custodian or caretaker of a companion animal shall negligently do any of the following:
“Deprive the companion animal of necessary sustenance; confine the companion animal without supplying it during the confinement with sufficient quantities of good, wholesome food and water; or impound or confine the companion animal without affording it, during the impoundment or confinement, with access to shelter from heat, cold, wind, rain, snow, or excessive direct sunlight, if it can reasonably be expected that the companion animal would become sick or suffer.”
You don’t have to be a humane officer to take action to prevent animal suffering or death. Ohio Revised Code 1717.13 allows any person to rescue an animal that has been confined for more than 15 hours without food or water.
Beyond the state animal laws, some cities have ordinances that prohibit chaining a dog outside when no one is home or for extended periods of time.
Violations of the state laws are second-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
Despite their fur coats, animals are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia just like people.
If you find an abandoned or stray animal, or witness a pet left outside in extreme weather for extended amounts of time, call your county animal shelter or humane society.