Local News

Clayton ordinance aims to break the chains

Posted August 6, 2008

— Clayton leaders are putting pet owners on notice – remove the chains or face a penalty.

“She really likes to run and exercise and get a lot of energy out,” dog owner Jason Fitts said.

His miniature pincher Jack Russel mix is rambunctious and likes running in her owner's backyard. When Fitts adopted Roxie from the Watauga Humane Society, he said he had to agree not to tie or chain her up outside.

“They really don't like to see dogs tethered outside,” Fitts said. “I wouldn't want to tether her. I would rather go to pet training, which is what I've been doing. And that's really helping her a lot."

However, not all dogs enjoy the same freedom as Roxie. Wednesday, as temperature hit the mid 90's, WRAL found several dogs chained or tethered outdoors in Clayton.

The animals had little shelter from the sun and almost no room to exercise. To protect such dogs, Clayton recently passed an ordinance prohibiting the practice of tethering animals.

“The person must have the animal in a cage or kennel that allows the animal to get up, move and maintain some level of comfort,” Captain Wayne Bridges, with the Clayton Police Department, said.

While Clayton is the first city in Johnston County to ban tethering, anti-tethering ordinances are part of a growing tend.

Durham County Commissioners will consider outlawing the practice next month, while animal rights advocates are pushing for a similar law in Orange County.

In Clayton, Bridges said the city will work to educate pet owners before enforcing the new law.

“We want to be sure to have the opportunity to let residents become familiar with the ordinance and give them time to comply,” he added.

According to Councilman Alex Harding, Clayton's anti-tethering ordinance doesn't take effect until early October. While penalties for violating the rules are still being decided, Harding said at the minimum, anyone caught tethering a dog will receive a fine.


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  • NCTeacher Aug 7, 2008

    I worked at a vets office while I was going through college. A country vet where lots of people keep their dogs chained or on one of those tie-out stakes. During those few years we had many dogs brought in that had gotten tangled in their chain or cable. Several of them had to lose their leg because their owners either didn't notice for awhile or didn't care. It's very sad to me to see dogs getting hurt over something that is completely preventable.

    Another common occurence was getting attacked by another dog and not being able to run away or properly defend themselves becasue they are chained up.

    My dogs are inside dogs. They get plenty of exercise and roam the yard whenever we are out there. But when I am not home or inside doing something, I have to know that they are safe. They are spoiled rotten and I wouldn't have it any other way

  • GoodVibrations Aug 7, 2008

    Timbo, I almost pity your pets! Hopefully you don't have any!

  • tiblet Aug 7, 2008

    dogs mean different things to different people but all deserve to be treated humanely. The anti-tethering ordinance is a good thing! :)

  • merrywidow Aug 7, 2008

    I'm a southerner - Raleigh born and bred - and quite some years ago I reported a neighbor of my mother-in-law for having a dog in the back yard on an extremely short chain, feces never cleaned up, a sorry excuse for a dog house, no shade and often no water.

    Like some have said before dogs are pack animals, they thrive around others. My dogs have always lived inside. We considered them family members. They need companionship.

    cpu, your right to do as you please on your property ends when your actions harm others, homosapiens or any other species . I agree that the ordinance needs to be fine-tuned to accomodate acceptable outdoor arrangements. But the onus of this ordinance is on unacceptable chaining.

    But still to me to just chain them in the yard is just lazy. If you don't want to bother with housebreaking them or don't want doggy hair in the house then don't get a dog.

  • ArkAngels Aug 7, 2008

    "Gee....we never had concerns about chaining dogs until folks from up North started moving down here"

    Excuse me, but I was born and raised right here in Raleigh and I have always had concerns about dogs being chained. So don't make assumptions unless you have some facts to back them up. It is not just the northerner's... it is people that actually have a heart.

  • Justin T. Aug 7, 2008

    Somebody said "Gee....we never had concerns about chaining dogs until folks from up North started moving down here...does this surprise anybody?"

    Yep, all us southerners know the place for a dog is under the porch.

  • GoodVibrations Aug 7, 2008

    I've known of chained dogs that accidently hung themselves -- reason one not to chain a dog. Also studies have proven that dogs that are chained up for long periods of time are more aggressive, reason 2). But on a run, where the dog has room to run and play -- and not get hung, and also has shelter and plenty of love, food, and water, how can this be bad.
    I'm also someone who will spend as much as I can to keep my animals happy. And if I were an animal, I'd be very happy to be one of mine than one of yours that just think of them as property.

    And as far as studies showing certain breeds are more vicious, the studies I've read -- actually point out that it's how the animal is raised. however -- if you have a breed that is large wish strong jaw muscles, more damage can occur -- and in that way -- they are more dangerous. My lab mix caused me to have 25 stitches in my chin from waking him up. It scared him! I don't blame him. The doc said most bites he'd treated were
    from labs

  • GoodVibrations Aug 7, 2008

    The problem I see with chaining a dog up is I know of dogs who have hung themselves accidently. Also studies have shown that a dog that is chained up for long periods of time can become aggressive. As with everything else, this may not be a totally right or wrong situation. There may need to be some clarifications beyond just the point of being chained up.

  • C_Felix Aug 7, 2008

    Gee....we never had concerns about chaining dogs until folks from up North started moving down here...does this surprise anybody?

    And to re-iterate what one user said - does this now mean that dogs will be roaming the streets, posing a health and safety threat to people, including small children?

    These folks on the Clayton Town Council are making decisions based on 'animal-rights agendas' rather than using common sense.
    August 7, 2008 2:47 p.m.

    Blah blah blah blah...Its the Northerners. Learn to contain your jealousy.

  • mmania Aug 7, 2008


    Well I guess I'm one of those people. I just spent $1300 to have a cantalope sized tumor taken off my dogs neck and he's 12. Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY!!!! And yes Bambi was a cartoon. However I do not chain my dogs and I'm not an animal rights activist. So don't be so broad in your assumptions.