By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore County Council has passed Oscar’s law — legislation requiring animals be brought indoors during extreme temperatures.

December’s freezing temperatures proved fatal for an Arbutus pet left out in the cold. Oscar died of hypothermia.

RELATED: Baltimore Co. Man Charged With Animal Abuse After Dog Dies Of Hypothermia

Now a bill passed by the Baltimore County Council requires owners to leave their animal outside for no more than half an hour in temperatures below freezing or highs above 90 degrees.

Julianne Zimmer of Relove Animals, a driving force behind Oscar’s law, told WJZ that dogs respond to temperatures differently depending on their coats.

“You’ll have dogs that will think that today is a nice, mild day and then you’ll have a dog that has a very thin coat that will say, ‘I’m freezing, take me in or put a sweater on me,'” Zimmer said.

The council vote on Monday night was unanimous. Bill co-sponser David Marks says the investigation unit will now be under the police department.

“The police will still have the discretion whether they write a citation or not. So it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get a citation. It just means you’re more likely to get one if you’re violating the law,” he said.

Chief offenders would be pet owners who leave their dogs out all day and night.

When it finally does get warm this summer, keep Oscar’s law in mind

The bill has the support of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

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