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Pros, cons unleashed in hearing on dog-tethering rule

Posted June 4, 2008

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— Orange County commissioners heard long and loud Tuesday night from advocates pushing for a new ordinance to limit dog tethering and from opponents, and the controversy delayed any decisions.

The board finally ended the public hearing without a vote, likely deferring action until fall.

The hearing went late into the night as the two sides sparred over the issue.

“Tiger before was a broken dog. His spirit was broken,” said Heather Brown, with the Coalition to Unchain Dogs.

Tiger used to be chained to a 4-foot tether day and night, Brown said. The Coalition to Unchain Dogs has since built Tiger a fence. 

“His tail never stops. He's happy. He gets to run,” Brown said of Tiger's transformation.

“I am very opposed,” George Painter, president of the Eno River Coon Hunters Association, said of the amendment. “For one thing, it's an injustice."

The coalition wants Orange County to severely restrict the dog-tethering portion of its animal control ordinance to allow no more than three hours in a 24-hour period.

The amendment drawn up county staff also would specify types of collars and equipment that could be used, minimum kennel sizes, certain exemptions and an 18-month educational period after enactment.

As presented Tuesday night, the ordinance would take effect in June 2009 and would have violators issued only warnings for one year as an educational effort. Penalties would not start until 2010.

The board had ordered the amendment drawn up last November after getting the report of a tethering committee.

Officials said Wednesday that a packed agenda for the commissioners' last spring meeting and the standard summer recess meant the ordinance won't come up again before September at the earliest.

Suzanne Roy said chains pose a safety hazard to dogs and that the coalition offers to build fences for dog owners who need financial assistance.

“Oh yes, we'd be very happy to build a fence around my 12-acre property,” Painter said sarcastically of the offer.

“Well, dogs don't run on 10 acres, they're on 10-foot tethers. I mean they don't have to fence the entire property,” Roy responded.


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  • futbalfantic Jun 5, 2008

    Oldschool- Great idea.... just awesome. Lets call 911 over an animal. First off this is not an emergency. Now if the dog came up and bit you, that would be a valid reason for calling 911. But just like people calling 911 b/c they have stub their toe, Not only does this tax the 911 operatiors but this also taxes the responders. And people wonder why when they call 911 it takes the emergency services a long time to get there. It's b/c someone felt the need to call 911 over a dog in someones back yard

  • Silver loves Rebel Red puppies Jun 4, 2008

    I didn't know there was an Eno River CHA, I'd love to be able to contact the spokesperson. I wonder where their meetings are held?

  • irishale Jun 4, 2008

    dplowman... right on about Orange CO... my folks live there still, and the 'planning' office is more like the "NO" commercials you see for that credit card. You're probably right... you'd probably never get the permit to build the fence... or certificate of occupancy for the dog house until it's been inspected :)

    Trying to legislate common sense... so the law can't be vague, it has to be definitive... good luck doing that... so all too often it becomes an all or nothing thing and we all suffer. Society, like a herd of animals, is as only as smart as it's dumbest members I'm afraid.... and from the look of things, were royally "an inclined plane around a central cylinder"-ed.

  • irishale Jun 4, 2008

    you know, this is all about the biggest problem of all we have in this country... we're trying to legislate common sense... an impossible thing to do!

    4' chain all day? Yes, that's inhuman. 10' x 10' fence all day, every day? yeah, that's inhumane too. Or even putting the dog in the fenced-in back yard, if you NEVER spend any time with it!

    Had a dog growing up, was kept on a 16' chain, on a pulley on a steel cable running about 30' between 2 trees... near the house so that interaction could occur every time somebody came outside. Plus once a day the dog was loosed from the chain to run for an hour or so (more on the weekends).

    That was the most well-behaved, happiest dog I had ever seen. She wouldn't stray far away during her runs, and would always come when called. If you said "time to get on the hook" she'd actually go back to the chain to be hooked up when exercise time was over.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is, IGNORING the dog is what makes the dog mean!!!

  • rrnjmm1999 Jun 4, 2008


  • oldschooltarheel Jun 4, 2008

    Responsible citizens - do your jobs. If you see a too tightly chained/tethered animal, one that can't get out of the sun, doesn't have appropriate care - for goodness sakes, CALL 911. Clearly state the animal is suffering, where it is, who you are - git 'er done! Don't waste time calling Animal Control - get the recorded call. Do it rather than hand wring - enforce the animal cruelty laws on the books already. Photodocument if at all possible. Let 911 know who you are & you will wait for law enforcement to show. If you aren't willing to do the responsible thing, sit down & be quiet.

  • rrnjmm1999 Jun 4, 2008

    even shaving a dog doesnt work. they pant because they have no sweat glands. they can easily get hurt or killed by the heat. it is inhumane to tether a dog to anything, they need places to run and play. responsible owners have a fenced in yard and do not let their pets outside during cold or hot weather.

  • Travised Jun 4, 2008

    Sounds like the problem is with People Eating Tasty Animals, and people that think four legs have more rights than humans. It's a DAWG not a human.

    I know a person that HAS a Husky down there. You simply shave their belly and shorten the coat for summer/late spring temps. They don't mind the temps as long as their coats are shorter. They tend to stay indoors during the summer in the AC!

  • Tom Morrow Jun 4, 2008

    But RevRB, you know that's not how the law works! It's so much easier for them to blanket everything than to "ferret them out"!

    I agree that there should be no law passed outright outlawing tethering. However, there has to be some kind of enforcement of cruelty laws. And I think the county is finding it diifcult to enforce, so it'll be easier with this blanket law. Because even though the animal is technically "your property", it is still a living breathing creature that deserves to be treated in a "humane" way.

  • dplowman Jun 4, 2008

    What right do orange county or anyone for that matter to tell somebody how to treat their property? I have had chained dogs and fenced dogs and dogs in the home but as far as I am concerned it is nobodys buisness how I keep them unless they are being abused. This is what is wrong with this country now their are to many people who want to tell somebody how to run their life. What these people need to do is concern themself with their own life and leave every-one else alone.But I have found out in my fifty-one years that the people or person who manages to find fault or try to make people look the other way are usually the ones doing the worst in life.If you dont like to see a dog on a chain look the other way. But what orange county is trying to do is get rid of the pets without saying so.
    What they will do is say you need to fence the dog in and then not give you a permit for the fence.All this is is BIG BROTHER just taking one more freedom away