In Virginia, nearly half of winter nights reach below-freezing temperatures. In this bitter cold, dogs suffer excruciating ailments ranging from painful frostbite to respiratory problems, and all too often die -- dogs like poor Rainbow, who froze to death on her chain in Accomack County on January 12, 2017.

Shockingly, it is still legal to leave a dog cruelly tethered outdoors in these frigid conditions. But a new bill could change that. SB 872/HB 646: Tethering animals; adequate shelter and space would outlaw leaving dogs tied up outside in temperatures below 32 degrees or above 85 degrees, as well as during heat advisories or severe weather warnings.

Reports of animals freezing to death while trapped or tethered outside have plastered the news these winter months, and pet caretakers are urged to bring their animals inside. However, time and time again, dogs are left to endure freezing temperatures while robbed of their ability to seek comfort and lifesaving warmth by cruel and often illegal tethers.

This new bill not only clearly defines the type of tether that is legal (four times the length of the animal or 15 feet in length, whichever is greater), but also imposes regulations regarding the duration and location in which a dog can be tethered.

While we believe that dogs should not be tethered at all, and stay inside the home in severe weather, this bill would serve as an important step in protecting dogs from torture and death.

Please sign this petition urging Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to support this bill, and see that it is passed and then strongly enforced.

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