I was visiting my home state of Pennsylvania recently, which was experiencing a bit of a warm spell for this time of year. The temperature was about to change, however, and that sparked conversations from my dog-loving friends about PA’s new law. Act 10 of 2017 places limitations on chaining or tethering a dog outside. You can’t tether a dog if the dog’s basic needs aren’t met. This includes not tethering a dog for longer than 30 minutes when the temperature drops under 32 degrees Fahrenheit or goes over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
I grew up in PA. Having dogs chained in the backyard was common when I was a child. Our own hunting dogs were kept in pens with a run, not kept inside the house. My childhood “best-friend-next-door” Shelby and I talked about those days and how we would never even consider doing that to a dog now. Although she and her husband don’t currently have a dog now, she proudly showed me photos of her new “grandchild,” a Lab mix, who she expected to be pup sitting. Today, my mother’s coddled Yorkshire Terrier Dickens wouldn’t even know what a dog pen looks like.
There are many reasons why I am personally against tethering a dog in most situations, except where he’s tethered to a table for a short period of time when you are at a restaurant and are right there with him. Here are my reasons:
What I find so surprising about people who tether their dogs and then walk away is that if they don’t care about the welfare of their dogs, what about the welfare of their pocketbooks? Dogs — and humans — are all nervous about strangers, no matter how socialized we and our dogs are.
You can’t predict how your dog will react to strangers while tethered. You can’t stop strangers from coming into your yard or walking up to a dog tethered outside while you run into a store. Insurance companies certainly are clear-eyed about it. I’m sure they’ll drop you quickly after you put in the claim for your dog biting someone, whether that person was trespassing or not.
While in PA, I spoke to my sister-in-law who works for an insurance company. Her company won’t give home insurance policies to homeowners who have certain large dog breeds because they’ve had experience with those kinds of claims.
I suggested to my sister-in-law, that instead of just banning these breeds, perhaps they should consider allowing homeowner’s insurance policies to large breed dog owners who do the following:
Obviously, I think we should all do this. (I have done 1, 2 and 4. I really need to work on 3.)
I’m not alone in my concerns about tethering your dog outside instead of allowing him to live inside with you. (IMHO, why else get a dog?) According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website, there are 32 states and DC that have restrictions on tethering (since its last update). I’m sure more cases, such as the rescued sick and emaciated Boston Terrier that prompted PA’s Libre’s Law on tethering, will come to light and states will one day outlaw tethering a dog altogether.
No surprise, but there is an even an organization specifically created to get people to stop long-term tethering their dogs called Unchain Your Dog . I personally hope that with all the information we have now that people become educated and stop tethering their dogs. It’s not good for the dog and not good for the dog parents. There is no win to this situation.
Thumbnail: Photography by Sanit Fuangnakhon / Shutterstock.
Stay tuned for more from Executive Editor Melissa L. Kauffman on Dogster.com’s Dug Up at Dogster column and on social media with #DogUpatDogster.
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