To the editor:
Dogs belong inside our homes, except when exercised outdoors, under supervision. They shouldn't be tethered or penned up outdoors for lengthy periods of time.
If kept outdoors, New York law requires dogs be adequately sheltered. The law requires the shelter have a waterproof roof; be structurally sound with insulation appropriate to local climate conditions and sufficient to protect the dogs from inclement weather; be 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; and allow for effective removal of waste.
The memorandum in support of this legislation observed that complaints about inadequate dog shelters are among the most frequent that are made to police and to humane societies.
"Stories of dogs that die frozen to the ground, from extreme heat, or from other complications due to the exposure to the elements continue to appear," the memo said. This legislation was designed to permit police and other cruelty investigators to better protect "man's best friend."
All too often, however, patrol deputies drive by dogs with inadequate or no shelter and take no corrective actions. I urge the sheriffs of Essex and Franklin counties to remind deputies of the need for enforcing the sheltering law.
And because police officers can't observe all violations, it is important anyone knowing about inadequate dog sheltering situations (or any other cruelty to animals) call the sheriff's or police department or local humane society.
Chairman, Public Education Committee
Animal Rights Activists of Upstate New York