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Pet-tethering debate draws large crowd in Durham

Posted August 25, 2008

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— Durham County is the latest North Carolina government to consider outlawing pet-tethering. Commissioners heard from residents Monday evening on the proposed law.

"It's really cruel to chain up dogs in the backyard and just leave. They're living creatures that need food and companionship just as much as we do,” Elizabeth Dixon, with the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, said.

Nearly 150 filled the seats and lined the walls at the public hearing, the majority appearing to favor outlawing pet-tethering.

"We Durham residents have placed our trust in you. Please don't let us down,” one person told the commissioners.

If the law passes, chaining up a dog outside would be considered animal abuse, in most cases.

Some exceptions to the proposed law include veterinarians who are treating an animal, and those training hunting dogs and police K-9s.

Violators who leave dogs unattended could face fines and could lose their animals if they can't find another way to keep them contained.

"Tethering is one way of confining an animal, and when done properly and humanely it has some benefits to it,” Andrea Press, director of Responsible Dog Owners of Eastern States' North Carolina, said.

Press represents a group that opposes Durham County's proposal. She said chaining and tethering dogs are often done by people who can't afford fencing.

"Fencing is just not always the best option for everybody,” she added.

The effort to change the law is the result of a two-year study that found a majority of animal cruelty complaints were related to improper tethering.

Durham commissioners are expected to make a final decision before October.

Clayton recently passed an ordinance prohibiting the practice of tethering animals. It takes effect in early October.

“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,” Capt. Wayne Bridges, with the Clayton Police Department, said.

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

Penalties for violating the rules in Clayton were still being decided. Anyone caught tethering a dog will receive at least a fine.

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  • Salty Aug 26, 2008

    And so the hunting dogs that they keep in those 3x4 pens year round and only let out a few times a year is ok? But have your dog outside on a chain with plenty of room to run, a house, and food and water and that's inhumane??

  • Salty Aug 26, 2008

    Having a dog on a cable can be a much safer way to contain it and prevent it from being hurt. Many canines die every year because they have dug underneath or jumped a fence and later get hit by a car or eat something poisonous. I keep my dogs inside mostly, but i also put them on a cable on nice days so they can enjoy the outside weather without me having to stand watch over them. This legislation does not address the real problem. Dogs should not be on a 5 foot chain, but they should not be allowed to run loose either. Common sense should tell you whether the way you are keeping your dog is inhumane, but to outright ban this and impose fines is absurd.

  • georgeorwell1 Aug 26, 2008

    If you want a pet and to leave it outside, the a fence is part of the expense. Stop being cheap and look out for the needs of your pet. Either that or get rid of the pet. Most people spend about 15 minutes thinking about getting a pet and then find out what all is involved in owning one. It took us a month just to figure out what kind of dog to get. Then we spent the appropriate amount of time getting the things ready before we got the dog. By the way, the dog is very happy and healthy and has all its needs met, if anything her needs are over-met

  • playfair Aug 26, 2008

    Pit Bull or Rottweiler that would have previously been on a chain?????

    Don't you understand. These are nice dogs that are made mean by
    being chained up all the time and not treated properly by people.

    My Rotties live in the house with me. They have air conditioning and heat in the winter. Shade. Water. Food.
    They go to the Vet and get HW medication. They go for walks
    and heal. I trust my dogs more than alot of people.

  • batcave Aug 26, 2008

    to much government

  • rrnjmm1999 Aug 26, 2008

    I KNOW ALOT OF PEOPLE LOVE ANIMALS. I HAVE 2 DOGS MYSELF. I WOULD NEVER CHAIN THEM UP AT ALL NO MATTER WHAT. I BOUGHT A HOUSE BIG ENOUGH FOR THEM AND ME. I ALSO PUT UP A FENCE TO KEEP THEM IN. I AM A FIRM BELIEVER THAT IF YOU CAN NOT AFFORD TO DO THIS SIMPLE THINGS THAN YOU SHOULDNT HAVE DOGS TO BEGIN WITH. ALSO IF YOU LIVE WHERE A FENCE IS NOT ALLOWED THAN STIP BEING LAZY AND WALK YOUR DOG EVERYDAY TO USE THE BATHROOM AND GET EXERCISE. AND FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SAY THAT ITS MORE CRUEL TO LEAVE THEM IN A ROOM ALL DAY THATS WRONG. MY DOGS SLEEP WHEN I AM NOT HOME. THATS WHAT THEY DO. CAGING A DOG IS HORRIBLE ALSO. IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE NO MATTER HOW BIG IT IS. SOMETIMES A DOG CAN GET SICK FROM BOTH ENDS AND WHAT ARE THEY TO DO WHEN YOU ARE GONE AND ITS STUCK IN A CAGE ALL DAY. IM SURE NO LIVING CREATURE WOULD FIND THAT A GOOD THING!!!

  • dplowman Aug 26, 2008

    just another example of big goverment and people getting involved with somebody elses buisness, If you see somebody not taking care of their animal report them but some dogs have lived a very happy life on a chain or lead run. I think the people just dont like dogs and dont want anyone else to have them eather, (and you know what they say about folks who dont like dogs)

  • TontoKozlowski Aug 26, 2008

    If this gets passed I predict that (very unfortunately) within 3 months a child is severely mauled by someones Pit Bull or Rottweiler that would have previously been on a chain. What do you think Johnny Gang Banger is going to do with his Pit-Bull now that he can't leave it chained? He is going to let it run around...I hate to see dogs chained up, but I also see no reason for a few breeds of dogs to remain in existence, so as long as they are, I would much rather they be tied up...

  • tiredofgovtwaste Aug 26, 2008

    Ignorance is bliss and that’s what’s running this train. Now the police will have to spend their time chasing down dog owners who violate the law, spend time in court defending their actions and possibly having the case tossed for some obscure law. So, for the sake of one or two dogs, we allow the police to choose between this and putting some gang banger in jail that just shot at, and possibly hit, a child or someone other than his intended target, while we investigate a dog on a chain. When do we start the “mother may I” (asking those who we elected) just to go to the bathroom or to have a meal. It will never end. Special interest groups are crippling America

  • ridgerunner Aug 26, 2008

    First it was leash laws, now no chaining. What is the big difference between a chain or a pen? both restrice movement, and cam wind up in the sun at some time during the day. If shade, shelter, food, and water is provided the only advantage of the pen is a wandering child is not as likely to come into your yard to pet the dog and be attacked. Just because a dog may be on a chain does not mean it is always neglected.

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