The Buffalo Common Council passed a law Wednesday prohibiting the tethering of dogs for over an hour in extreme weather conditions.
Extreme weather conditions are defined under the bill as when the temperature is over 90 degrees or below freezing.
Council member Joel Feroleto worked with the SPCA Serving Erie County, UB Animal Law Clinic, and the City of Buffalo law department to sponsor the law.
“It’s been months of work and a lot of behind the scenes by a lot of different people and we’re very thankful and supportive of this legislation,” said SPCA President and CEO, Gary Willoughby.
The Buffalo Common Council passed the new law that creates a $250 fine for those who leave their dogs outside for more than an hour when the temperature gets above 90 or when it’s below freezing.
Those who violate the law three times could be fined up to $1,000 and possible jail time. Hunting and working dogs are excluded from the ordinance.
“We take into account, obviously, if it has a dog house that’s proper outside, then there’s no time limit,” said Willoughby. “So it may be perfectly appropriate for a husky or a St. Bernard to be outside in a well insulated dog house all year round.”
Syracuse already has a law like this in place but not many other cities do, according to Professor Kim Diana Connolly of the University at Buffalo ALw School, Animal Law Clinic. “It turns out that this is a little bit of the cutting edge but there are lots of communities that are realizing that laws like this are important and there are more and more that are taking actions ike this,” said Connolly. “People should remember that the City of Buffalo cares enough to to help educate people about how to take care of canine companions.”
The law takes effect immediately in the City of Buffalo, but there is a six month grace period, so people may be given their first warning, but no one can be fined until late June.