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Virginia Steps Up Its Protection of Animals

As the scorching summer heat continues, lawmakers do their part to help keep pets cool and safe.

Dog laying on floor in summer with cooling system in foreground.

It’s August, which means long, hot days and hopefully a dip in the pool or a picnic under a shady tree to stay cool. As summer heat continues to bear down on Virginia, lawmakers have stepped up to protect animals from potential harm, since heat can be especially deadly for our pets. A new law on the books says that an animal can’t be tied up or tethered during a heat advisory, or during any other severe weather advisory for that matter. 

This means that whenever the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory or tropical storm or hurricane warning — or if in a few months’ time freezing or below-freezing temperatures are predicted — it’s illegal to leave animals tethered or without shelter and water, or trapped in a hot car. Violating this law is a class 1 misdemeanor, and is punishable by up to a year in jail. 

Agencies such as the Hanover County Animal Control and Richmond Animal Care and Control have received nearly daily calls from citizens concerned about animal cruelty, for things like dogs being left in hot cars, and are stepping up enforcement of violations. We at Burnett & Williams want to do our part to help all of our friends and neighbors keep their pets safe, and to help with that, here’s a link to some good tips and guidelines from the Humane Society about making sure your pet is safe this summer. Stay cool, both for your sake and for your pets!