Dogs in winter

To the editor:

If kept outdoors, New York requires that dogs be given a shelter that has a waterproof roof, is structurally sound with insulation appropriate to local climate conditions and sufficient to protect dogs from inclement weather, and 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 limbs outstretched. The shelter and surrounding area are required to be kept free of waste.

When complaints of inadequate sheltering are investigated, victimized dogs are often discovered to also be malnourished, dehydrated, unvaccinated and/or unprotected against heartworm and parasites.

In the 16 years since the sheltering law was enacted, enforcement of this law has been lax in Essex and Franklin counties.

In addition to strict enforcement of all humane laws, I also wish that all communities in the Adirondack region would follow the example of Canandaigua City Council, which enacted an ordinance last year that limits the time dogs can be tethered or otherwise confined outdoors to a maximum of eight hours in any 24-hour period. Dogs really are “man’s best friend,” deserving of a place inside our own homes.

These issues are about applying Jesus’ Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — in our relationships with all sentient beings. This ethic promotes human welfare, too. As the humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer believed, “Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living beings, man will not himself find peace.”

Joel Freedman