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Feb 15, 2016 5:14 PM

Dogs in the cold: NH's state laws and what the SPCA says you need to know

STRATHAM - After receiving calls and emails from viewers concerned about dogs being left out in bitterly cold temperatures, we wanted to break down what's legal under state law, and what's recommended by the experts.

The N.H. SPCA receives an average of 30-40 calls during the winter months, from people concerned about animals being left in the cold.

"We probably find 10 that may be substantiated, that they don't have a proper shelter," said Steven Sprowl of the NHSPCA.

The first step is to educate the owner - many don't realize that state law requires an outdoor dog have access to an appropriate size doghouse, Sprowl said.

According to NH State Law: "Shelter shall be structurally sound and have an area within to afford the dog the ability to stand up, turn around and lie down, and be of proportionate size as to allow the natural body heat of the dog to be retained."

Other points under NH State Law:

-Dogs cannot be left in a hot or cold car

-Must have access to food and water

Beyond that, the NHSPCA recommends the following:

-Insulated doghouse

-Bedding, such as hay

-Heated water bowl

-Jacket for short haired breeds

-If the weather is questionable, your pet should be inside

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