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Herring reminds Virginians of legal consequences if animals are left in cold

Poor dog left outside in the cold.
Poor dog left outside in the cold.
Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 4:48 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Attorney General Mark Herring is reminding Virginians to take care of their pets as temperatures grow cold.

Herring is reminding pet owners and law enforcement that animals cannot be left out in the cold without adequate shelter and care, and if they are, there can be serious consequences, including animal cruelty charges.

“Virginia law requires owners to make sure their pets are protected from the elements and it gives law enforcement the tools they need to ensure the safety and health of an animal, and that includes the ability under certain circumstances to seize an animal to make sure it is safe,” Herring said. “As we begin to see colder temperatures and winter weather, I want to encourage all Virginians to take care of yourselves, and check on your friends, neighbors, family members, but don’t forget to take care of your animals as well.”

Under Virginia law, leaving an animal in the cold with no shelter or inadequate shelter can be considered animal cruelty, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

Herring and his Animal Law Unit say animal control officers should ask owners to “bring their animals inside or into adequate shelter, ask the owner to surrender the animal if they are unable to provide adequate shelter, or in certain circumstances take temporary custody of the animal to ensure its safety.”

Richmond Animal Care and Control said it also wants to make sure all animals within city limits have what they need this winter season.

RACC said dog houses and straw bales are available for delivery to any resident in the city that needs them. Residents who need them can message RACC on Facebook or call them at 804-646-5573.

It’s getting cold outside and we want to make sure our outside dog/cat population have everything they need to stay...

Posted by Richmond Animal Care and Control on Thursday, December 17, 2020

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