Tethering Dogs Outside During Heat Wave Is Deadly and Illegal—PETA Offers Vital Tips

For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2023

Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – With summer in full swing, PETA is issuing an urgent warning and reminder that it’s illegal to tether a dog outside unattended in Virginia when the temperature is 85 degrees or above. Dogs left tethered outdoors unlawfully may be seized by police, and their owners could face cruelty-to-animals charges. Dogs must be kept indoors or in a securely fenced-in area with continuous access to water, shade, and shelter. Already this year, 47 animals have reportedly died from heat-related causes across the country. (The actual figure is likely far higher, as most deaths go unreported.)

On the heels of a recent tragic incident in Roanoke in which a pair of dogs were left in a hot car, leading to the death of one of them, PETA is also urging people to be on the lookout for dogs who are in need of assistance, including those who may be experiencing heatstroke symptoms, and advises everyone to do the following:

  • Take notice when a dog exhibits an extended, curled-up tongue and heavy panting, as dogs can’t sweat as humans do, so heat builds up inside their bodies.
  • Touch the pavement before walks to ensure that it won’t burn dogs’ foot pads.
  • Walk only in the shade or on earth or grass, and never leave animals outdoors in extreme heat or inside vehicles at any time.

PETA fieldworkers regularly come across and hear about dogs who have suffered and died from heat-related causes. Last year, police in Bedford seized four dogs who were tied up outside in the heat with inadequate shelter and no water. Authorities are primed to take similar action to enforce the state’s anti-tethering ordinance this summer.

For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind