During the heat wave, Virginia’s AG has warning for pet owners

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia’s attorney general has a warning for all pet owners during these dog days of summer.

“Most pet owners love their animals and they take good care of them,” said Mark Herring.

But unfortunately not everyone does.

“That’s why it’s important to have these laws to make sure that animals are protected,” Herring added.

Herring says he’s worked hard over the past couple years to protect animals.

“How we as a society treat our animals says something about who we are as people,” Herring said.

That work included creating the country’s first Animal Law Unit.

“It’s there to help strengthen our laws, help enforce laws and to be supportive of animal control officers,” Herring added.

Recently, the temperatures have been almost unbearable. Herring sent a letter to the state’s animal control officers reminding them about the new laws that just went into effect.

“All across Virginia, we’ve been seeing some hot temperatures and the extreme weather conditions which can be really tough on pets and animals,” Herring said.

The new animal cruelty laws focus on making sure pets have food, water, shelter and are no longer tethered in extreme weather.

“If you are a pet owner and your animal is not sufficiently sheltered from that extreme temperature, of course it is dangerous for the animal, but it could have legal consequences,” Herring said.  “It could be considered animal cruelty.”

That could result in getting charged with a class one misdemeanor.  That’s 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

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