Texas Community Outlaws Unattended Dog Tethering
Big barks for Irving, Texas!!! Let's hope we hear that this law spread to the rest of North America!
Thanks to the Dallas Morning News for this article.
Irving council OKs ban on unattended, tethered dogs
Owners of unattended, chained pets to receive Class C misdemeanors
November 2, 2007
By BRANDON FORMBY / The Dallas Morning News
The Irving City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Thursday night that bans tethering unattended dogs any time, any place. The new city law is believed to be the first of its kind in North Texas.
Irving's ordinance goes beyond a state law that went into effect in September that limits the time dog owners can tether their pets to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
"We've chosen as a community to make ours a little stricter," said Fred Sanderson, Irving's animal services manager.
Mr. Sanderson said the law is aligned with a growing national movement of dog lovers and lawmakers who believe tethering dogs can make them more aggressive.
Dale and Kristi McKenzie, whose 8-year-old son, Shane, was attacked by a tethered dog in March, were among a dozen residents who supported the ordinance. Shane has undergone eight surgeries to repair his carotid artery after a tethered Akita mix jumped him when he went into its yard to retrieve a basketball.
"Children have no fear," Mrs. McKenzie told council members Thursday. "They love everything."
Supporters of anti-tethering laws say tethering creates a negative emotional and psychological environment for animals that are social by nature. They also say tethered dogs are more likely to attack because they are more aggressive and territorial.
On Thursday, several of the ordinance's supporters told the council that dog owners should be responsible enough to create a secure environment for their animals without relying on tethering.
But opponents of anti-tethering laws, including the American Kennel Club, say they unfairly punish responsible pet owners who tether dogs to train them and to keep them in unfenced yards.
Irving resident Robert Lamon and his wife told the council the ordinance goes too far. They said that if they didn't tether their 80-pound mixed-breed dog, she would dig under or jump over their fence. Mr. Lamon said the council was putting an undue burden on many owners and could lead to more dogs running loose.
"How many dogs are you prepared to euthanize because the people can't afford to keep them now?" Mr. Lamon said.
Irving's new law prohibits tying dogs up and leaving them unattended. Owners are allowed to tether a dog when they are present if necessary to protect the animal or another person. Owners also may tie up a dog on their property if they are present and the pet is more than 15 feet from the edge of a public street or sidewalk. Dogs also may be tethered in a designated dog park as long as their owners are present.
The law does not apply to hand-held leashes or restraints. Dogs can be tethered during veterinary treatments, grooming, training or law enforcement activities.
Mr. Sanderson said that though the law goes into effect immediately, animal control officers plan to spread the word before they begin handing out Class C misdemeanor citations Jan. 1.