With extreme cold expected to continue throughout the next several days, local counties are reminding residents that they could be charged hefty fines for leaving animals outside.
Anne Arundel County Animal Control posted on Facebook on Tuesday that they've extended their severe weather animal alert through Monday, January 8. Owners of dogs found outdoors during this time without meeting the proper requirements may face having their dogs impounded, steep fines between $125-$1,000 and/or criminal charges.
According to a graphic posted by animal control, dogs left outside must have clean, non-frozen water, and access to an elevated dog house with bedding and a flap, among other requirements. It is recommended, however, that dogs should be brought indoors when temperatures reach below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, regardless of accommodations.
Montgomery County enforced similar guidelines, calling for all pets to be brought indoors. Owners of pets left unattended outdoors may face criminal charges and a $500 fine.
These regulations aren't limited to dogs, either. Montgomery County announced that livestock must have a place to get out of the wind as well as dry bedding.
Last year, D.C. council went as far as to pass an emergency amendment known as “Momma's Law” after a Pitbull named Momma was left outside in the freezing weather in Petworth, without a covered shelter. The legislation, which expired after 90 days, created stricter requirements when leaving pets outdoors. Since the law was enforced after concerned neighbors contacted police about Momma's conditions, Momma's owner was allowed to keep her.