WILKES-BARRE -- Winter is on its way and now, Luzerne County wants to make sure dogs are not left out in the cold or owners could be fined — or even have their four-legged friends taken away from them.
Allen Demott loves each and every one of his four dogs.
"They're my family. They're my kids! You know, they deserve everything a child deserves,” he said.
And while some four-legged friends love being out in the snow, what gets Demott heated is seeing dogs left outside during extreme temperatures for too long.
“No dog should be left out in the winter, in the cold. You know, it's just not right!” he said.
The effect of cold weather on a dog can be devastating.
“Sometimes it shows on their paw pads or in their nose, they get cracked and can be incredibly painful and it opens them up to infections,” said Charlotte Maciejewski, a manager at PetSmart.
Now, Luzerne County wants to protect man's best friend. Luzerne County Council passed an ordinance prohibiting dogs from being outside when the temperature drops below 26 degrees or above 92 degrees for more than a half hour.
“They shouldn't be left outside and left alone and that's good they're passing a law that changes that,” said Jayme Galdieri of West Pittston.
The new law is not intended for people walking their dog, only dog owners who leave their furry friends outside unattended for too long. If that happens, owners could be slapped with a fine or the SPCA could even take away their dog.
But some people question if the new law goes too far.
“Who decides what's cold to a dog? Do we still let our kids go to school if it's cold outside? I mean, just saying!” said Donald Gruver of Wilkes-Barre.
“What's too cold for the tea cup chihuahua may not be too cold for the Alaskan Malamute, so it really, like any law, becomes common sense enforcement,” said Todd Hevner of the Luzerne County SPCA.
The county is hoping to enforce the law with help from neighbors, who can report if dogs are left the cold for too long. But before the law takes effect, municipalities in Luzerne County have 15 months to decide if they want to opt of it.