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Posted on: June 29, 2021

Extreme Heat - Care For Your Pets!

ANIMAL CONTROL

Every companion animal (including dogs) must have adequate shelter in extreme heat conditions. Failure to provide adequate shelter is a Class 4 misdemeanor

Outdoor Shelter, 3.2-6503
Every companion animal (including dogs) must have adequate shelter. Failure to provide adequate shelter is a Class 4 misdemeanor

3.2-6500
Adequate shelter, such as a dog house, in warm weather must:
Protect each animal from injury, rain, and direct sunlight
Protect the animal from the adverse effects of the heat
Be properly shaded
Not readily conduct heat
Be clean and dry

There are more requirements for shelter under 3.2-6500, but these are the primary factors to consider in warm weather. Summons the person and/or seize the dog if you cannot gain compliance immediately. Under 3.2-6569, the dog can be seized if there is an apparent violation of any provision of Chapter 65 that creates a direct and immediate threat to the animal’s life, safety, or health.
Outdoor Tethering

3.2-6500
Outdoor tethering of an animal is prohibited under the following circumstances:
When the actual or effective outdoor temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
During a heat advisory issued by a local or state authority
During the effective period for a hurricane warning or tropical storm warning issued for the area by the National Weather Service

An exception can only be given if the animal control officer properly inspected the animal’s individual circumstances and can guarantee that the animal is safe from predators and well suited and well equipped to tolerate its environment. If the animal does not have adequate shelter, the exception should not be given.

The length of the dog’s tether is regulated, too. Adequate space means that the tether must:

Be at least 15 feet in length or four times the length of the animal, as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, whichever is greater.
Not get entangled with other objects or animals or extend over an edge.
Not weigh more than one-tenth of the animal’s body weight.

An exception can only be given if the animal control officer has properly inspected the animal’s individual circumstances. Then the tether can be 10 feet or three times the length of the animal.
Summons the person and/or seize the dog if you cannot gain compliance immediately. Under 3.2-6569, the dog can be seized if there is an apparent violation of any provision of Chapter 65 that creates a direct and immediate threat to the animal’s life, safety, or health.

Before enforcement action is taken review the applicable code sections.
The full definitions of adequate shelter and adequate space can be found here: § 3.2-6500. Definitions.

You must act. You cannot allow a dog to stay outside without adequate shelter.


Thanks to Michelle Welch for Providing this information
Director of the Animal Law Unit, Office of Attorney General Mark R. Herring
Commonwealth of Virginia - Office of the Attorney General

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