If you listen to Rik and I in the morning you know we are HUGE dog lovers and we absolutely can't stand the thought of dogs being neglected -- let alone being left outside during this terrible weather. Apparently law enforcement agrees with us...YAY!
To my displeasure I read an article where the Tri-City Animal Shelter says they are receiving non stop calls reporting dogs being left outside in the elements -- ridiculous!
Thank you Benton County Sheriffs Department. They are reminding residents leaving animals out in harsh conditions can result in criminal charges including animal cruelty. In addition to a fine and possible jail time, you'll almost certainly lose your animal. You guys are my heroes, and better yet, a hero to pets everywhere!
Here is what the Washington State Legislature says constitutes Animal Cruelty:
(1) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.
(2) An owner of an animal is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence:
(a) Fails to provide the animal with necessary shelter, rest, sanitation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure;
(b) Under circumstances not amounting to animal cruelty in the second degree under (c) of this subsection, abandons the animal; or
(c) Abandons the animal and (i) as a result of being abandoned, the animal suffers bodily harm; or (ii) abandoning the animal creates an imminent and substantial risk that the animal will suffer substantial bodily harm.
(3) Animal cruelty in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor.
(4) In any prosecution of animal cruelty in the second degree under subsection (1) or (2)(a) of this section, it shall be an affirmative defense, if established by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant's failure was due to economic distress beyond the defendant's control.