OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Dog owners could face new penalties in Washington state if they tie up or "tether" their dogs in an inhumane way.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Wednesday that would make it illegal for a person to leave a dog tethered for a reckless period of time without providing him or her with adequate access to food, water and shelter. Owners must also make sure to leave their pet in a safe and sanitary area that protects them from excessive heat or cold. Dogs must also be left with enough space to move around so they don't become tangled if they try to sit, stand or lie down.

Currently, Washington state doesn't have animal cruelty standards or penalties for when a dog is left tied up or tethered. The new statute would allow animal care and control officers to issue warnings or civil infractions for inhumane animal tethering.

At least 20 other states along with the District of Columbia have enacted similar dog tethering laws, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

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