A Trend to Ban 24/7 Chaining

In 2009 Nevada joined 12 other states in placing restrictions on tethering or chaining: California (Health & Safety Code Sec. 122335), Texas (Tex. Health & Safety Code Sec. 821.077), Connecticut, (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22-350a), Maryland, (Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code §10-623),  Tennessee (Tenn. Code §39-14-202), Delaware (7 Del. C. § 1704), Michigan (Mi. Comp. Laws § 750.50), Vermont (13 V.S.A. § 365), Maine (M.R.S. § 4015), and North Carolina (N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-362.3); Virginia (Va. Code §3.2-6500) and West Virginia (W. Va. Code § 61-8-19(a)(1)(H)).

Nevada, California and Texas limit the number of hours dogs can be chained each day.

Also, in 2009 Hawaii passed a measure that placed a few restrictions on chaining. In 2010 Connecticut improved its anti-chaining law while Louisiana passed a law to restrict chaining. Neither new law limits the number of hours a dog can be chained each day.

2011 Bills to Restrict Chaining

New Jersey’s bill, A.B. 1518, remains pending in 2011. This bill would ban tethering or chaining to a stationary object "between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m." or for than one hour during the rest of the day. Dogs could be attached running cable trolley systems for up to 6 hours each day but not from 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.  Find your New Jersey legislators here and write (letters or faxes are best) or call and urge them to support limits on tethering or chaining dogs. Send them the link to this article!

A bill pending in New York’s Senate would limit chaining to 6 hours each day. For more information…..   A bill pending in Washington state’s legislature would also limit the hours a dog could be chained each day and place a number of restrictions on the practice of chaining dogs. Hawaii bills would restrict further how a doc could be chained.  

In the past few years, there has been a trend in major U.S. cities as well as small communities to go further than state laws and ban unattended chaining or tethering of dogs. 

These counties and cities have banned unattended chaining or tethering including when the dog is attached to a running cable line or trolley system, except during temporary tasks or other limited circumstances:

Tuscon, Arizona Sec. 4.3(2)(e)(2)

Miami-Dade County, Florida (eff. October 7, 2008) Sec. 5-21

Miami, Florida (eff. May 8, 2008) Sec. 6-41

Bibb County, Georgia (eff. May 6, 2008) Sec. 4.26

Cobb County, Georgia Sec. 10-11 

Fulton County, Georgia (includes parts of Atlanta) (September 4, 2009) Sec. 34-205(b)

Gwinnett County, Georgia Sec. 10-29

Macon, Georgia (eff. February, 2008) Sec. 5-20

Asheville, North Carolina (September 22, 2009) Sections 3-4, 3-12(i) 

Durham County, North Carolina (eff. January 1, 2010) Sec. 4-62 

New Hanover, North Carolina (since 1978) Sec. 3.4

Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina (June 13, 2006) Ord. 91:22

New Richmond, Ohio (January 3, 2008)

Lawton, Oklahoma Sec. 5-1-120(H) 

Austin-Travis County, Texas (October 1, 2007) Sec. 3-4-2

Big Spring, Texas Sec. 3-40(b)

Dallas, Texas (July 1, 2008) Sec. 7-3.1

Electra, Texas Sec. 111

Fort Worth, Texas (January 22, 2008) Sec. 6-13(d)-(f)

Georgetown, Texas (eff. December 24, 2008) Sec. 7.01.010

Irving, Texas (Dallas suburb) (November 1, 2007) Sec. 6-2.1

Still other communities have banned unattended chaining or tethering to a stationary object, meaning fences, dog houses, poles, houses and the like, but not to cable lines or pulley system.

Fairhope, Alabama  Sec. 5-34

Fayetteville, Arkansas  (April 17, 2007) Sec. 92.02(F)

Jonesboro, Arkansas (March 17, 2009) Sec. 10-47

Little Rock, Arkansas (October 7, 2003) Sec. 6-16

Maumelle, Arkansas (eff. June 6, 2005) Sec. 10-90

Los Angeles, California (eff. August 3, 2005) Sec. 53.70.D.

Okaloosa County, Florida Sec. 5-28

Athens-Clarke County, Georgia (November 7, 2007) Sec. 4-1-2 

Chatham County, Georgia (eff. August 12, 2005) Sec. 22-139

DeKalb County, Georgia (July 12, 2005) Sec. 5.8

Jefferson County (Louisville), Kentucky (12-1996) Sec. 91.091 

New Orleans, Louisiana (June 20, 2002) Sec. 18-21(b)

Biloxi, Mississippi Sec. 4-1-21 

Pascagoula, Mississippi Sec. 10-8 

Carthage, Missouri Sec 4-7

Clayton, North Carolina (eff. October 4, 2008) Sec. 91.26

Cumberland County, North Carolina (eff. Aug. 1, 2009) 

Live Oak, Texas (2007) Sec. 10

Texas City, Texas (March 13, 2007)

Kanawha County, W. Va. (Aug. 20, 2009)

Omaha, Nebraska Sec. 6-147 is in its own category as the only community to ban all unattended chaining or tethering for more than 15 minutes to stationary objects and 1 hour for tethering with a trolley system. A variation on the exception for owners stopping for coffee or engaged in some other temporary task. 

Albuquerque, New Mexico (August 22, 2006) Sec. 9-2-2(D)(3)-(4)-2 limits chaining to a stationary object to one hour and permits dogs to be tied for a longer period to a trolley system.  (Laurinburg and Scotland County, North Carolina also prohibit chaining more than one hour each day.)

Even for the circumstances or periods of time that chaining or tethering is allowed, these communities recognize the danger to dogs. These laws for the most part also address steps owners must take to protect the dog from injury and even death, bad weather, extreme temperatures, and assure they are properly sheltered and provided water and food. 

Though the trend towards banning or severely restricting unattended chaining or tethering, a number of other counties and cities have at least restricted it to certain hours and set conditions. 

State laws that limit the hours dogs can be chained or tethered

Under California’s 2006 law a dog can be tethered up to 3 hours each day while the owner completes a "temporary task". Cal Health & Saf Code § 122335  California’s law allows dogs to be tethered "to a running line, pulley, or trolley system" for unlimited periods. There are exceptions for dogs engaged in a licensed activity, dogs at campsites or recreational areas, and dogs used for herding livestock or if the owner is "engaged in conduct directly related to cultivating agricultural products" if the restraint is "reasonably necessary for the safety of the dog".

The 2007 Texas law has proven to be confusing and there was an effort in the 2009 session to clarify the language. But that effort failed. The law as it stands states:

"An owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog’s movement: 
 (1) between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.;
 (2) within 500 feet of the premises of a school; or
 (3) in the case of extreme weather conditions……

As it reads, it could be interpreted to allow chaining or tethering under these conditions if the restraint doesn’t "unreasonably limit[]" the dog’s movements.  Tex. Health & Safety Code § 821.077 

Compounding this are a number of exceptions including for dogs tied to "a running line, pulley, or trolley system" with a properly fitted collar that is not  a pinch-type, prong-type, choke-type; dogs restrained for up to 3 hours while the owner completes a task, dogs involved in a licensed activity, dogs at campsites or in recreational areas, and dogs used for herding livestock or if the owner is "engaged in conduct directly related to cultivating agricultural products" if the restraint is "reasonably necessary for the safety of the dog". Tex. Health & Safety Code § 821.078  It would seem these are exceptions to the requirements a dog cannot be tethered or chained to a stationary object between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., within 500 feet of a school or in extreme weather if the restraint unreasonably limits the dog’s movements. It’s complicated.  

tethered dogThe 2009 Nevada law bans chaining and tethering to a stationary object as well as a cable, trolley or pulley system for more than 14 hours each day.

Why unattended chaining/tethering of dogs should be banned or severely restricted

Chained dogs tend to be neglected and can be dangerous, straining animal control resources and endangering the community.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and United States Dept of Agriculture (USDA) also oppose chaining dogs.

The Center for Disease Control has said chained dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite adults. Chained dogs are nearly 5 times more likely to bite children. The National Canine Research Council reports that almost 30% of all fatal dog attacks involve chained or penned dogs. The ASPCA reports 81% of fatal dog attacks involve dogs that are isolated. Go here for more information.

Nicholas Dodman, DVM, Professor, Tufts University, says, "Chaining dogs makes them more aggressive.  They are natural social animals and [chaining] induces ‘isolation-induced aggression’ and creates a ‘junkyard’ dog effect.  They basically go mad."




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