Dog left outside in freezing cold prompts new DC law

DC Council passes 'Momma's Law'

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Remember Momma, the Pit Bull left outside for days in the freezing cold last month? A few neighbors ignited the Petworth fight to try and save her.

Tuesday that effort saw a win. D.C. council resounding passed the Emergency Amendment called, “Momma’s Law.”

The dog could be seen shaking in cell phone video from last January. Neighbors angrily said Momma’s owner left her outside in subfreezing temperatures for days during one of the city's "Cold Emergency Weekends." 

RELATED: Petworth's fight to save a Pit Bull may bring changes to all of DC's pets

Those same neighbors emailed WUSA9, called police and confronted the owner. They unsuccessfully tried everything they could to get the dog inside. One of those neighbors did not want to be identified but recalls that weekend well.

Emergency Extreme Weather Protection for Animals Act of 2017 by wusa9 on Scribd

"It was a very dark period of time watching this animal suffer,” she told WUSA9.

Back in January when we had those subfreezing temperatures, Momma’s dog enclosure was found to be legal. Now with this new legislation, it still pretty much meets all the requirements except for one thing: there's no cover.

That's the one thing DC Humane Officers say would've allowed them take Momma from her owner.

"A covered wind block" is now one of the requirements included in the Emergency Amendment passed by DC city council Tuesday.

Councilmember Brandon Todd introduced 'Momma's Law', which will change how the city defines animal 'protection from the whether' during cold emergencies.

Will it help?

Momma got to stay with her owner since his actions were not illegal then. No one knows where she is now.

"It's definitely bitter sweet that we don't know what happened to her. She will always be on our minds and there's a little bit of comfort knowing that we did this for her,” said another neighbor who asked not to be identified.

"Getting her immediate action was a challenge that time. We're hopeful that this new legislation enables the authorities to actually do something the next time there is a dog out in the cold, in similar circumstances,” said her friend.

They're hopeful but advocates say it's only a start. That's because once the Mayor signs it “Momma's Law” will only last for about 90 days, enough to get through the winter. They're pushing for permanent legislation that will include all extreme weather temperatures.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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