Question: I see some dogs that are tied up outside during the winter. What is the law regarding food and shelter requirements for animals being outside?

Answer: This certainly is the time of year that brings this topic to the surface. Dog owners are required, at all times of the year, to provide their animals with adequate food, water and shelter.

Shelter in cold temperatures must meet a different standard than in the summer months. The same goes for water. Frozen water doesn’t meet the requirement, as it’s ice and not water.

Another thing that can be taken into consideration is the breed of dog. A short-haired dog may not be able to withstand cold outside temperatures, where a long-haired Alaskan malamute can.

On the food requirement, an animal doesn’t need continual access to food, but it would need to be fed daily.

I recommend, if people see animals that appear to be in poor condition or not being taken care of properly this winter, that they report it to my office. There are a lot of factors to consider, but a deputy will investigate accordingly and handle it on a case-by-case basis.