Apparently a Dog’s Life is More Valuable Than a Human’s

A new bill was signed recently that stated a person could be punished by law if they left their dog’s out in severe weather for more than 20 minutes. Although House Bill 1238 is currently enforced in Pennsylvania, it’s only a matter of time before we see this enacted in other states considering the number of “dog lovers” who serve as leaders in the House.

What’s the punishment for leaving your animals outside in weather that’s 32 degrees below or 90 degrees over for too long?

You could find yourself paying up to $15,000 or spending up to 7 years in jail! Although this is a great achievement for those, who value the lives of animals everywhere, what about the value of the lives of people who are homeless and unable to find shelter during those same severe weather days? Who should be punished for allowing actual human beings to remain in the cold, but not dogs? It’s a question that should be asked.

During a 10-year period, from 2003-2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded more than 13,400 deaths among the homeless from exposure to unsafe temperatures. Many homeless individuals die from hypothermia as their body temperature dips below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and the number continues to rise as the number of homeless people continues to grow. What about shelters for the homeless, you might ask?

That isn’t always a solution considering the National Coalition for the Homeless shared that over 34% of overnight homeless shelters nationwide that aren’t even open during the day, and 24% of the shelters refuse those homeless people who are visibly drunk. This means that there’s a massive number of individuals who are not going to receive the shelter that they need to protect them from severe weather, be it hot or cold.

This is a problem because we have yet, as a nation, to come up with a viable solution that can solve this very pressing problem. Instead, we create legislation that protects dogs from dying in severe weather. There are no laws that protect homeless people from being harmed during severe weather, yet we continue to ignore the need to solve this very pressing issue.

We can create a multitude of excuses surrounding why it’s easier to protect dogs than it is to protect the homeless. One might state that dogs have owners, so the owners are legally responsible for them. That’s fair. But then I would add that the homeless individuals are citizens of the United States and, as such, were promised to be protected with laws, rules, and regulations that would serve their best interest.

Those who are elected officials within certain states made a vow to protect and serve the interest of the people in their district. If this is so, then why are they not held accountable when the people in their district include homeless people who are dying on the street due to severe weather?

Protecting the rights of animals is something that is noble and humane. Protecting the rights of human beings is something that is required and just. It’s too bad that we, as a people, are beginning to get the two confused.


  1. Terry Grant

    I agree with the theme of your article about homeless people deserving more consideration than a pet, but as a Pennsylvania dog owner I wish you had commented on the stupidity of the one size fits all, PA dog law. I have a long coated mountain dog who hates the heat of summer and begs to go out in the winter cold. If she wants to come inside she can, but seldom does. I also have owned Siberian Huskies who love to curl up in a snow bank to sleep. It is cruelty to keep these dogs inside during the winter as per the PA law requirements. In the same vein, it would be cruel for bureaucrats to force one size fits all rules on the poor and homeless. Some people enjoy snow skiing, snow shoeing, and crisp weather hikes, so I am sure the results of society intervention would end up looking more like a 72 degree jail cell to many independent minded poor, children, or seniors.

  2. Dennis Schaefer

    When you honestly come to realize that the total amount of animal suffering in the world is INFINITELY greater than that of humans , it fundamentally changes your understanding of reality. E.g., how many humans are killed for food on a daily basis? For animals, it’s in the range of 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 per MINUTE, every single day, to feed our hungry maws. How many animals tortured day-after-day in unnecessary and endlessly duplicated “research” (at obviously great government / tax-payer expense), just to line the pockets of greedy and inhumane self-proclaimed cowardly “heroes,” just to find that nearly 90% of the results are inapplicable, or downright harmful to humans? They actually cut out the vocal chords of rabbits in order not to have to listen to their screams of agony. Add to this the horrible conditions in factory-farming, animals tortured for sport / entertainment (I don’t even want to think of the cold-blooded horrors I witnessed living in Spain over a period of several years, including following a large cart-load of killed horses from bullfights on a lovely Sunday afternoon in the Asturias), horses sacrificed and turned out to starve by the thousands during aeons of human warfare (the great Robert E. Lee once confessed that the misery of horses in wartime was even greater than that of the men themselves), and, well, just go on from there. In my experience with animals for nearly 70 years, I’ve come to appreciate that this truly innocent and defenseless portion of the animal creation have attained a level of loving acceptance, and real gratitude, far beyond that of the average graceless human specimen.


    Our pets are dependent upon us. They ask for so little, yet give so much. About 95% of the homeless choose that lifestyle. We have people in this country choosing slavery ( socialism) over freedom. I will stick with my dog.

  4. JoAnn Leichliter

    The dog legislation, from what limited understanding I could garnee from the article, seems well-intentioned but misguided. Some dog breeds do very well outside even in extremely cold weather, especially if there is snow on the ground. Of course, all dogs left outside in cold weather need decent shelter and unfrozen water available, as well as increased food. Some hardy dogs actually prefer not to use a dog house, even in very cold weather.
    As for the plight of the human homeless, that certainly needs to be addressed on a continuing basis. However, we do not have control over other human beings in the way we have it over our dogs, nor should we. Christians, of course, have an obligation in charity to care for those in need, but they do not have either the right or the duty to compel those to whom it is offered to accept it.

  5. R. Taylor

    In Gallup, New Mexico a “Drunk” Wagon goes about picking up those people likely to freeze to death and takes them to the local jail. They are released in the morning.

  6. Deb

    I think it’s a great law. Animals (unlike humans) can’t take care of themselves. They depend on us humans. Leaving them outside in extreme heat or cold should not be tolerated. People shouldn’t have animals if you want to leave them outside all the time. What’s the point of that. People should be fined if they tie their dog outside on a leash 24/7.

  7. Lee Jenkinson

    There is one major difference between homelss humans who die from weather extremes and dogs: the dogs have owners who are apparently indifferent to their pets’ suffering, while the animals themselves are helpless to change their circumstances. Humans on the other hand have the ability to change their circumstances at will. This is the crux of the matter; society as it currently exists has no real safety net for those who through bad luck, bad judgement, or just plain stupidity find themselves with no money, no home and no one to help them out, but it also must be acknowledged that a percentage of society simply doesn’t have the wit to take care of themselves.

    What then do we do with them? We live in a democracy that allows personal freedom, including the freedom to become indigent. The increasing complexity of our technological society is simply too much for those without the intelligence to cope, and one or two bad mistakes is all it takes to end up on the street. Americans recoil from the concept of a “Nanny state” so the care of those unable or unwilling to participate in our society is left up to chariities.

    Frankly, with the level of cruelty to animals as it exists today, there should be far more legislation protecting a species that was bred to look to us for love and protection , and is repaid with indifference and unimaginable cruelty.

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