BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The President of the SPCA serving Erie County says under current animal laws in New York State, it's not clear when animal control officers can step in if they notice a dog is tied up outdoors for a long period of time.
"It doesn't specify certain temperatures or certain lengths of time so it's really hard to prove a case in court," said Gary Willoughby II, SPCA serving Erie County President & CEO.
In Buffalo it's against the law to keep dogs in unsanitary conditions and to not provide food, water, and space, but the city doesn't have a law about keeping dogs tethered outdoors in harsh weather.
Officials with the SPCA serving Erie County hope to change that.
"We want special circumstances for when the temperature is above 90 degrees or below freezing below 32 degrees hopefully having those animals out no more than 30 minutes in those extreme temperatures. We want to make sure that they always have access to fresh water when they're out there," said Willoughby.
The SPCA is pushing for new laws that would lay out when it's too hot or too cold to keep a dog leashed outdoors.
"Those rare cases when we have to take someone to court this allows us to have stronger laws that are more provable so they're not getting off with just a hand slap and the dog gets back in the same situation it was before," said Willoughby.
Officials are working with the Erie County District Attorney's office, city lawyers, the city's animal shelter and police on this proposed legislation, and working on drafting a city ordinance.
The SPCA hopes to have this new law in place before the winter, when pets are at risk of catching frost bite if left outside for too long in harsh conditions.