New QAC Law Protects Dogs Left Outside in Extreme Weather
With the passage of a new Queen Anne’s County Animal Control Ordinance it is now against the law to leave your dog outside in extreme weather.
The QAC Commissioners voted, June 12, in favor of County Ordinance 18-07 which states,
“Any dog shall be brought inside a home, building or other suitable shelter within 30 minutes of the onset of extreme weather conditions which shall be defined for purpose of this provision as temperatures above 90 degrees or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or during active weather warnings issued by the National Weather Service or the Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services.”
Those who leave their dogs outside in extreme weather can face a fine of up to $1,000.
“The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners and local advocates for passing this important protection for outdoor dogs. Pets left outside in extreme temperatures are at risk of serious illness and injury from hypothermia and frostbite to heatstroke and even death. Including specific prohibitions on unattended dogs being outdoors during these extreme weather conditions allows animal control officers to intervene and assist animals before an animal becomes severely ill or injured rather than waiting until a dog is suffering and seriously injured, ” said Maryland State Director Emily Hovermale.
Kathy Trotter, a member of the Queen Anne’s County Animal Control Commission, said, “I am so proud that as a county, we are so proactive in protecting animals. Trotter is also a member of Maryland Votes for Animals, a group that lobbies state representatives about animal rights matters. “This was a very historical year because Maryland became one of the first states in the country to ban puppy mills. We’ve created history here.”
Commissioner Mark Anderson said he was glad that the four members attending passed his amendment to make this an emergency ordinance, as the beneficial aspect could have been delayed for most of the summer otherwise. "The ordinance passed with all four members in attendance voting ‘for’ its passage so it becomes effective immediately,.” said Anderson who also introduced anti-dog fighting legislation last year which passed.
Queen Anne’s County was also in the forefront in 2015 when the county commissioners, on a recommendation from the animal control commission, unanimously approved and adopted a new regulation to prohibit the tethering dogs. Any form of tying, chaining or tethering is prohibited unless the dog is in visual range of the responsible party, and the responsible party is located outside with the dog. Violation of this regulation may result in impoundment of your dog and a maximum civil fine of $1,000.
Anne Arundel County votes on similar anti-tethering legislation later this month.
Regarding the extreme weather bill, Baltimore County passed such a bill in April, which had been referred to as Oscars Law. The bill was introduced following the death of a dog, Oscar, due to hypothermia last winter.