Reminders on Leaving Dogs Outdoors in the Cold

Putnam SPCA issues alert

As the weather starts to turn cold, the Putnam County  would like to remind dog owners of their responsibilities under the law. The New York State Animal Cruelty Laws state that in order for a dog to be left outside it must meet all of the following conditions:

  • The shelter provided must be appropriate for the dog’s breed, physical condition and climate. This means that a wooden doghouse, plastic igloo or similar type of shelter is not appropriate during freezing and below freezing conditions for shorthair breeds (beagles, pit bulls, Chihuahuas, etc.). This also means an older dog or a dog with a medical condition, such as arthritis, cannot be left outside in freezing and below freezing temperatures.
  • “Dogs that are left outdoors” shall mean dogs that are outdoors in inclement weather without ready access to a house, apartment building, office building or any other permanent structure that complies that (1) has a waterproof roof; (2) is structurally sound with insulation appropriate to protect the dog from inclement weather; (3) is constructed to allow each dog adequate freedom of movement to make normal postural adjustments, including the ability to stand up, turn around and lie down with its limbs outstretched; and (4) allows for effective removal of excretions, other waste material, dirt and trash. The housing facility and the area immediately surrounding it shall be regularly cleaned to maintain a healthy and sanitary environment and to minimize health hazards.

Also, by law, dogs must be supplied with water at all times. A water bowl that has frozen to ice does not meet this requirement. If a shelter does not meet the above requirements or is not breed-, age-, physical/medical-appropriate, then the owner must keep the dog inside during inclement weather.

To report animal cruelty/animal crimes, the public can contact the Putnam County SPCA at their 24-hour animal cruelty hotline at 845-520-6915 or through their website All calls will be kept confidential.

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