EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — With frigid temperatures in the forecast for northeastern and central Pennsylvania, pet owners need to be aware of potential penalties for leaving your furry little friends out in the cold for too long.

PA residents are being reminded of the commonwealth’s laws to bring pets indoors as temperatures start to drop.

As temperatures plunge below freezing this weekend, it’s important to remember that Pennsylvania amended its animal cruelty bill with protections and penalties for leaving your pet outside in extreme weather.

Strengthening Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws, Libre’s Law says that a dog cannot be tethered for longer than 30 minutes in temperatures above 90 degrees or below 32 degrees.

Libre’s Law also states that animals must be provided sanitary shelter that allows animals to maintain normal body temperature and for them to be dry year-round.

“Continuous tethering can cause severe physical damages such as cracked and bleeding paws, frostbite, and hypothermia. We encourage the public to help to keep the dogs of Pennsylvania safe and warm this winter by reporting animal neglect to the local humane society police officer, local or state police. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania State Director of the Humane Society of the United States.

In 2017, Governor Wolf signed a package of bills that included Libre’s Law, which updates the measures which clarify the definition of abuse and raise penalties.

Training and education programs were developed to better prepare the proper authorities responsible for protecting animals through the identification and prosecution of animal cruelty crimes.

In an additional release, the Pennsylvania State Police urge pet owners that veterinary care must be provided to pets in need of medical attention.

“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,” said Corporal Michael Spada, PSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation Animal Cruelty Officer.

A comprehensive list of rules and regulations on this is available online for those who are interested.