Pennsylvania State Police Reminds Pet Owners of Basic Needs

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) is reminding pet owners that they are required to provide the animals with basic needs, as defined by law, or face potential animal neglect and/or cruelty charges.

"Basic needs include the proper sustenance to maintain a healthy body weight, as well as clean, unfrozen water to avoid dehydration," said Corporal Michael Spada, PSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation Animal Cruelty Officer. "Animals need just as much water in the winter as they do in the summer for their bodies to process food and help keep the natural metabolism working."

Animals must also have access to an appropriate-sized shelter that provides protection from the weather, keeps the animal dry, and allows it to retain its body heat. The shelter must also be clean and sanitary.

Veterinary care must be provided for pets in need of medical attention.

According to Title 18, Chapter 55, Subchapter B of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, there are certain requirements that must be met if tethering a dog outside.

With the holiday season upon us, animals are often given as gifts and sometimes surrendered to shelters or rescues a few months later. To avoid this, consider the animal's breed and inherent behavioral traits, its size as an adult and its needs as it gets older, and the costs to care for the animal, including veterinary expenses. All too often, "cute and cuddly" pets are forgotten as they grow and age.

Consider supporting your local shelters and rescues with donations and even adopting an older pet that needs a loving home.

For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police, visit

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Media Contacts

Adam Reed

State Police Media

Myles Snyder

State Police Media