We've reached the winter months in New Jersey! But no matter how cold it gets outside, dogs will still need to take care of their business outside.

Winter snow day scene
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True, winter in the tri-state area hasn't been as cold in the last two years as we're used to. In fact, Philadelphia just hit a new record: It's been over 668 days since the city's last measurable snowfall - the longest streak on record.

Child shovelling snow and cleaning the driveway.
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Who knows how much snow we'll get in the 2023-2024 winter season? Even if we don't get any snow at all, it'll still be cold. And if it's cold for us, it's also cold for our pets.

How long can pets legally be outside in winter temperatures?

Thankfully, it is illegal in New Jersey to leave your pets outside in extreme, unsafe temperatures. And that includes pet cats.

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If temperatures reach 32 degrees or below, or 90 degrees and above, your pet cannot be left outside when the owner is not with the animal. The same goes for when it's raining or snowing.

It was signed into law in 2017. You can look at the full text here. It reads:

"It is unlawful to expose a dog, pet, or service animal to harsh weather conditions, such as freezing temperatures (32 degrees Fahrenheit or below), excessive heat (90 degrees Fahrenheit or above), rain or snow, for more than thirty minutes when the owner or caretaker of the animal is not with the animal and exposed to same conditions."

Violators are subject to paying a fine, imprisonment, community service, paying restitution, and even having their animal taken away from them. The law also forbids cruelly restraining and confining animals.

If you're cold, your dog is cold. They need to be safe and warm at home just as much as you do.

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