16 DE § 3044F. Specifications for the humane handling, care, and treatment of dogs

(a) General facilities.–(1) Structural strength.–Housing facilities for dogs shall be designed and constructed so that they are structurally sound. They shall have no sharp points or edges that could injure the dogs, and they shall contain the dogs securely and restrict other animals from entering.

(c) Outdoor housing facilities.–(1) Restrictions. No dog shall be confined outside and unattended during any period in which a hazardous weather advisory or warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for the local area or where conditions pose a serious adverse risk to the health and safety of a dog. For purposes of this section, the definition of “outside and unattended” shall mean any dog that is exposed to the elements for a duration of longer than 15 minutes and not in visual range and physical presence of the owner. This expressly includes, but is not limited to, a dog in a yard or a dog that is tethered. A dog shall be considered outside regardless of access to an outdoor dog house or similar structure. However, a dog actively engaged in the protection of livestock, farm property, or poultry shall not be considered to be “outside and unattended” provided that such dog has uninterrupted access to enter a dry agricultural building such as a barn.

(2) Shelter from the elements.–Dogs shall be provided with proper shelter to protect them against inclement weather, preserve their body heat, and allow them to remain dry during rain or snow. The shelter shall be substantially moisture proof and windproof structure of suitable size to accommodate the dog and allow retention of body heat. It shall be made of durable material with a solid, moisture-proof floor raised off the ground, and contain sufficient clean and moisture-resistant bedding material or other means of protection from the weather. Additional bedding material and a windbreak, such as a flap or tarp at the entrance, shall be provided between November 1 and March 31 or when the temp is 35°F (1.7°C) or lower.

(3) Shelter from sunlight.–In addition to the shelter structure, 1 or more separate outside areas of shade shall be provided to allow the dogs to protect themselves when sunlight is likely to cause overheating or discomfort.

(4) Construction.–Housing facilities for dogs shall be constructed to provide for the health and comfort of the animals. The floors and walls of outside housing facilities shall be constructed and maintained so that they are structurally sound, substantially impervious to moisture, wind, and may be readily sanitized. A dog house shall not be constructed primarily of metal. Mobile or traveling housing facilities, barrels, cars, refrigerators or freezers, and the like shall not constitute proper shelter.

(5) Dogs shall be provided access to food and water under paragraphs (e)(2) through (e)(4) of this section in a manner in which the contents will not freeze.

(d) Primary enclosures –(4) Use of tethers.–Tethers shall be attached so that the dog cannot become entangled with other objects or come into physical contact with other dogs, and so the dog can roam to the full range of the tether. The tether shall be of a type commonly used for the size dog involved, made of material not normally susceptible to being severed by the dog through chewing or otherwise. Tethers shall be attached to the dog by means of a well-fitted collar that will not cause trauma or injury to the dog. Tethers shall not be attached to a choke, pinch, prong, or martingale collar. The tether shall be a minimum of 10 feet in length and allow the dog convenient access to the dog house and to food and water containers. The dog may not be tethered for more than 2 hours when the dog owner or a responsible person is not present on the property.

(f) Civil penalties. — An owner who refuses, fails or neglects to comply with this section shall be penalized as follows:

(1) For a first violation, a civil penalty of $100 in addition to costs.

(2) For a second violation, a civil penalty of $250 in addition to costs.

(3) For each subsequent violation, a civil penalty of $500 in addition to costs.


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