Massachusetts law: Illegal to leave dogs outside during heat advisory

Crime

(WWLP) – A Heat Advisory is in effect for western Massachusetts, and that means there are strict restrictions when it comes to leaving your pets outside.

Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to keep your dog(s) tethered outside for longer than 15 minutes during a weather advisory, warning, or watch. The current Heat Advisory remains in effect until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday for heat indices reaching near 100 degrees.

Weather Alerts

“We have a dog, we don’t even bring the dog out unless we are going out and my wife usually takes the dog out early morning when it’s not even hot,” said Yusef Id-Deen of Springfield.

“A person shall not leave a dog outside when a weather advisory, warning or watch is issued by a local, state or federal authority or when outside environmental conditions including, but not limited to, extreme heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or hail pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of the dog based on the dog’s breed, age or physical condition, unless the tethering is for not more than 15 minutes.”

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

No matter the weather, Massachusetts law prohibits tethering dogs outside for more than five hours at a time. The law also prohibits the tethering of dogs anytime from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., except for a maximum of 15 supervised minutes.

Owners who violate these laws will be fined anywhere between $50 for first offenses to $300 for subsequent violations. If you would like to read more about the law concerning tethering a dog, visit malegislature.gov.

“A person shall not confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme heat or cold.”

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
  • After making reasonable efforts to locate a motor vehicle’s owner, an animal control officer, as defined in section 136A, law enforcement officer or fire fighter may enter a motor vehicle by any reasonable means to protect the health and safety of an animal.  An animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter may enter the motor vehicle for the sole purpose of assisting the animal and may not search the vehicle or seize items found in the vehicle unless otherwise permitted by law.
  • An animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter who removes or otherwise retrieves an animal under this section shall leave written notice in a secure and conspicuous location on or in the motor vehicle bearing the officer’s or fire fighter’s name and title and the address of the location where the animal may be retrieved. The owner may retrieve the animal only after payment of all charges that have accrued for the maintenance, care, medical treatment and impoundment of the animal.
  • An animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter who removes or otherwise retrieves an animal from a motor vehicle under subsection (b), and the agency or municipality that employs the officer or fire fighter shall be immune from criminal or civil liability that might otherwise result from the removal.
  • After making reasonable efforts to locate a motor vehicle’s owner,  a person other than an animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter shall not enter a motor vehicle to remove an animal to protect the health and safety of that animal in immediate danger unless the person: (i) notifies law enforcement or calls 911 before entering the vehicle; (ii) determines that the motor vehicle is locked or there is no other reasonable means for exit and uses not more force than reasonably necessary to enter the motor vehicle and remove the animal; (iii) has a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon known circumstances, that entry into the vehicle is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent danger or harm to the animal; and (iv) remains with the animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement or another first responder arrives.
  • A person who removes an animal from a motor vehicle pursuant to subsection (e) shall be immune from criminal or civil liability that might otherwise result from the removal.
  • A violation of subsection (a) shall be a civil infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $150 for a first offense, by a fine of not more than $300 for a second offense and by a fine of not more than $500 for a third or subsequent offense.
  • Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under section 77 of chapter 272.

Not many dog could be seen Wednesday afternoon at Community Field Dog Park in Holyoke because of the heat but 22News talked with a dog owner, who brought his two dogs there, on ways he is keeping them cool during this dangerous heatwave.

“We usually bring our water with us, we got a little jug there. We like to take walks by the lake. But we do have a husky so we come here because there is shade with the trees,” said John Ridge of Boston.

According to a study from Scientific Reports, breed, age, and weight can put certain dogs at a higher risk of a heat-related illness. Most at-risk dogs weigh more than 110 pounds and are breeds with flat faces.

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