Dogs Left Outside

Description of the law regarding dogs left outside in the elements.

The Putnam County SPCA reminds you that dogs left outdoors need appropriate shelter.

For dogs left outside, New York State has certain requirements in place to protect “man’s best friend.”  Although they are based on common sense, check and see if you meet all the requirements. Penalties range from monetary fines to arrest in the extreme where it becomes a criminal act.

• First—any dog kept outside must be “breed appropriate.” A short haired dog left outside in freezing temperature is definitely NOT breed appropriate, where a husky might be.
• Second—the dog needs to be provided with a shelter which must be:

Large enough for the dog to stand up in
Wide enough for the dog to turn around in
Long enough for the dog to make “normal posturing moves” such as stretching out and contained within.
The structure must be insulated
The structure must be waterproof
The structures must be one in which it can be easily cleaned and kept free from refuse including feces and urine.
It must provide shelter from the elements.
In the cold months, hay on the bottom of the shelter will provide additional insulation.

  • In most cases, plastic shelters (igloos), although they may state on their packaging that they are “dog houses,” do NOT meet the requirements of the law. Should you have any questions regarding the law or if a shelter is appropriate, contact the Putnam County SPCA (24 Hour Cruelty Hotline - 845-520-6915, www.spcaputnam.org).

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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