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Bill to protect pets from being tethered outside in extreme weather passes in Va. Senate

(FILE)

RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- Dog owners who leave pets tied up outside overnight or during extreme weather conditions may face the possibility of punishment if a proposed bill becomes law.

The Virginia Senate passed SB 872, which bans tethering pets outdoors in conditions that could be potentially dangerous.

There are exemptions for farm and hunting dogs.

A previous version of the bill prohibited owners from leaving their dogs tied up outside when their owner wasn't home.

Virginia law already requires owners give their dogs "adequate shelter," but the new proposed bill would extend that law.

SB 872 now heads to the Virginia House, where a similar piece of legislation, HB 646, was passed by a subcommittee.

Sponsors and advocates of the bill said they hope changes made to the Senate bill, like the hunting and farm animals and removing the "at home" provision, will help the bill's chances of passing in the House.

Currently, there are already two ordinances in place in Virginia related to tethering laws; in Roanoke, dogs cannot be tied up to anything for more than three hours and no dog can be tied up after 10 p.m. or before 6 a.m. Dogs injured, in heat, or under four-months-old can't be tethered ever.

In Portsmouth, the new rule prohibits tying a dog up unless the animal is watched by someone who is outside and within 35 feet. It makes the practice a misdemeanor punishable by a $250 fine.

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