With cold weather looming, be conscious of how long you leave your pet outside.

Back in April of 2017, Senator Mark Montigny wrote and passed a state law that protects pets from being exposed to cold temperatures for a long period of time. Montigny's basis was not so much aimed at responsible pet owners, but to weed out those who are abusive to their beloved animals by leaving them outdoors for long periods of time.

"You would think people who have animals would love animals, would treat them with dignity, but unfortunately, that's not always the case, which is why I wrote this law," Senator Montigny said. "People associate it with heat in the summer, but it can be equally dangerous to leave a pet in the car when the temperature is dangerously low, not to mention people who leave their dog tethered outside overnight in the cold and the snow."

Understandably, pets (especially dogs) use the bathroom outside. However, in the event of any weather advisory, be aware that there are legal limitations to how long your pet can be outside.

Freetown Animal Control made it very clear on social media as a friendly reminder of Montigny's Law:

I couldn't agree more, especially with the flash freeze that recently rocked the SouthCoast sending temperatures plummeting into single digits with negative degree wind-chill.

Now, here's where the serious fines start coming into effect. According to MALegislature.gov, the state law says the following:

1st Offense- Written warning or $50 Fine (depending on the judgment of the state official)

2nd-Offense- $200 Fine

3rd Offense- $500 Fine and impoundment of the pet

Hopefully, this is taken seriously by all pet owners who think it's ok to chain their pets up outside during cold weather. I'm sure you wouldn't like it if it were you tied down to a fence with blistering cold winds in your face for hours on end.

Not all pet owners are bad; this message is directly aimed at those who abuse the opportunity to take care of their beloved animals.