Starting January 1 in Illinois, there will be against the law to leave pets outside in extreme temperatures in Illinois. Here's what you'll need to know.


Attention dog owners. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation which makes it against the law to leave pets in extreme hot and or cold weather that could cause injury or death to the animals.

Lawmakers had already passed the bill through the state Senate and the Illinois House earlier this Spring, and the bill was awaiting the governor's signature.

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If a pet is hurt or dies as result of being left in extreme weather, a pet owner can now be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a $2,500 fine or up to one year in jail if they are found guilty.

Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

According to, The bill's sponsor, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, said "The law is a response to the high number of dog deaths last winter after dogs were left outside in subzero temperatures. It is hoped that the law will lead to fewer pets dying and becoming injured and help raise awareness about the animal welfare issue".

This new Illinois Law takes effect on January 1, 2016.