Ohio – Some state lawmakers have defined a loophole in the law when it comes to leaving your dog outside in the winter and are defining it as cruelty. All 50 states have federal animal cruelty laws but in those laws it does not define leaving your dog outside in cold temperatures as cruelty according to The Animal Defense Fund.
States that have passed such laws are Pennsylvania,Nevada, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, along with other local municipalities. Ohio produced House Bill 94 bill in March of 2015 that would have enacted language that would have made it illegal to negligently tether an animal outside in certain situations.
In 2019 President Trump passed into law with his signature a bill that makes animal cruelty is a federal felony.
The bill, Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, criminalizes specific acts of animal cruelty such as “animal crushing” or purposefully crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians.
The new bill would have imposed time limits on tethering and a prohibition on tethering animals in certain weather conditions. Furthermore, a prohibition on tethering would have been imposed if the tethers were unsafe, under a certain length, allowed the animal to touch fences or cross property lines, or were inappropriate for the animal’s size. HB 94 also would have prohibited tethering if the surrounding area was unsanitary, or if the owner of the premises was not present. Finally, the bill would have amended the current law to include punishment for violating the proposed tethering language.