Dogs & Laws

Virginia Law Prohibits Tethering Dogs in Extreme Weather

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Effective July 1, a new Virginia legislation makes it illegal to tether a dog outdoors in extreme weather. The new law also mandates that tethers must be at least 15-feet long and provides standards by which dogs must be cared for.


Governor Ralph Northam signed SB 1025 last year that, beginning July 1, 2020, make changes to existing dog tethering laws across the state.

The legislation expanded the definition of “adequate shelter” for family dogs. It prevents leaving tethered dogs outside when temperatures are below 32° Fahrenheit or above 85° Fahrenheit or when the weather service issues warnings for hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather.

The legislation also increases the minimum length of a tether from 10 feet to 15 feet.

Additionally, dogs must be provided adequate shelter during hot weather that is properly shaded and does not readily conduct heat. During cold weather, the shelter must have a windbreak at its entrance and provide bedding material (such as straw, cedar shavings, or similar) that is sufficient to protect the animal from cold and promote the retention of body heat.

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