HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) is reminding pet owners they are required to provide their animals with basic needs, as defined by law, or face potential animal neglect and/or cruelty charges.
This also includes owners who keep their pets outside.
“Basic needs include the proper sustenance to maintain a healthy body weight, as well as clean, unfrozen water to avoid dehydration,” said Corporal Michael Spada, PSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation Animal Cruelty Officer. “It is important to note that animals need just as much water in the cold of winter as they do in the heat of summer.”
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The PSP also states animals must also have access to an appropriate-sized shelter to protect them from the weather, keep them dry and allow them to retain body heat. The shelter must also be clean and sanitary.
Veterinary care must be provided for pets in need of medical attention.
According to Title 18, Chapter 55, Subchapter B of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, certain requirements must be met if an owner tethers a dog outside.
During the holidays, animals are often given as gifts and sometimes surrendered to humane societies or rescues a few months later. To avoid this, potential owners should consider the pet’s breed and inherent behavioral traits, its size as an adult, its needs as it gets older and the costs to care for the animal, such as veterinary expenses.
Consider supporting your local shelters and rescues with donations and even adopting an older pet that needs a loving home.