Local News

Clayton ordinance aims to break the chains

Posted August 6, 2008 5:55 p.m. EDT
Updated August 6, 2008 10:01 p.m. EDT

— 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.