Local News

Wilson County Man Tries To Prevent Improper Tethering Of Dogs

Posted February 2, 2006

— At Max Fitzgerald's private shelter, volunteers take in and care for many injured and abused dogs. One dog, Shadow, was one of the most severe cases.

"Another day on that chain and this baby would have been dead," said volunteer Nancy Winters.

Shadow had deep lacerations from a chain that grew into her neck. The dog's owner left her tied to a pole, with heavy chain, for too long. Eight months later, Shadow is doing much better.

"It's an amazement, you can't see a scar at all," said Fitzgerald. "Just white hair."

Fitzgerald recently put up two billboards, warning owners not to improperly tether their dogs. Wilson County's policy says dogs can't be tied to a pole, post or tree. Owners can use a stake in the ground or clothesline device, as long as the animal can't wrap itself around anything. Fitzgerald said the problem is that it's currently a policy, but not a law, with no penalties for violations.

Animal control officers admit that right now, it's tough to enforce. Fitzgerald wants commissioners to make it a tethering ordinance. He hopes the billboards get attention and support.

"I think it is a good idea," said Wilson County resident Watson Edwards. "I think there are a lot of people that are not aware that they've got their dogs tied up in an incorrect manner."

Fitzgerald also wants the county to ban chains. He doesn't want to see another Shadow.

"She's an example of what should not be happening to our animals in Wilson County, or anyplace in our state," he said.

Wilson County Commissioners plan to discuss the issue at next Tuesday's board meeting. As for the Shadow, volunteers say she's recovered so well that she's now up for adoption.

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