Dog owners who leave their dog outside during extreme weather conditions without adequate shelter could face hefty fines, according to a new state law.

State lawmakers passed a law that went into effect Oct. 1 that mandates and defines the need for shelter, shade, and water during National Weather Service advisories of extreme heat or cold. The law also bans tethering a dog outside without providing it with water.

Easton’s Animal Control Officer Deborah Ice supports the law. She’s worked in larger towns in the state and has seen dogs left outside in freezing and hot temperatures.

But she doubts she’ll ever need to enforce the new law in Easton.

“Easton is a dog loving town. I’ll get 55 calls if someone leaves their dog outside when it’s snowing,” Ice said. “I’ll ask them what kind of dog is it? They’ll say, ‘It’s a Husky.’ Well, Huskies like the snow I’ll tell them.”

CT Votes For Animals was among the many animal rights groups and state residents who testified in support of the law during a public hearing at the state Capitol in February

“The measure is a common-sense enhancement that will mitigate against the horrific suffering inflicted on dogs left outside. It will also better enable Animal Control to take proactive action to both save a dog in distress and educate the owner in better practices,” the Bloomfield-based CT Votes For Animals told the Easton Courier in an email.

According to the law, violators face hefty fines up to $100 a day if their dog is not adequately sheltered outdoors for more than 15 minutes during National Weather Service advisories or extreme heat or cold. The law also makes it illegal to tie up a dog outside without providing it with water at least twice every 24 hours.

Photo at top by Bill Diamond

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