PSP Reminds Pet Owners of Obligation to Provide for Basic Needs

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania State Police is reminding pet owners, including those who keep their pets outdoors, that they are required to provide the animals with basic needs, as defined by law, or face potential animal neglect and/or cruelty charges.

“Basic needs include the proper sustenance to maintain a healthy body weight, as well as clean, unfrozen water to avoid dehydration,” said Corporal Michael Spada, PSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation Animal Cruelty Officer. “It is important to note that animals need just as much water in the cold of winter as they do in the heat of summer.”

Animals must also have access to an appropriate-sized shelter that provides protection from the weather, keeps the animal dry, and allows it to retain its body heat. The shelter must also be clean and sanitary.

Veterinary care must be provided for pets in need of medical attention.

According to Title 18, Chapter 55, Subchapter B of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, there are certain requirements that must be met if tethering a dog outside.

With the holiday season upon us, animals are often given as gifts and sometimes surrendered to humane societies or rescues a few months later. To avoid this, consider the following: its breed and inherent behavioral traits; its size as an adult and its needs as it gets older; and the costs to care for the animal, including veterinary expenses. All too often, “cute and cuddly” pets are forgotten about as they grow and age.