People would be responsible for keeping their pets safe in extreme weather under a bill heard by the Judiciary Committee Feb. 20.
Under LB548, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Sara Howard, any person who leaves a household pet restrained, unsheltered or unattended during a severe weather event or natural or manmade disaster would be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.
A Class I misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to one year of imprisonment, a $1,000 fine or both.
Howard said the bill would create consequences for people who neglect to provide proper care for their pets.
“When humans are entrusted with the care of animals, that includes looking out for their well-being,” she said. “Many animals, because they’re domesticated, are not able to handle [extreme temperatures].”
Misty Christo, representing the Nebraska Rescue Council, supported the bill. She said current law offers no protection for chained animals during extreme weather events.
“This is a carefully considered and crafted bill … designed to solve the problem of Nebraska pets dying during severe weather and natural disasters,” Christo said.
No one testified in opposition to the bill and the committee took no immediate action on it.