Anti-Tethering Ordinance Passes in Dallas

Update June 25, 2008: The Dallas city council has approved the anti-tethering ordinance by a vote of 10-3.

Tethering unsupervised dogs to trees or poles will be prohibited except "for a period no longer than necessary for the owner to complete a temporary task."

Also, under the new law owners must provide at least 150 square feet of space and a "building or properly designed dog house" for a dog confined outdoors.

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert voted for these measures.

The state of Texas as well as some of its cities such as Austin, Fort Worth among others have passed anti-tethering laws recently. It is a growing trend in recognition of the need to protect the public and provide humane treatment of dogs. It is the right thing to do. Click here for more information.

Original report: Dallas, Texas is considering an anti-tethering ordinance along with several other changes to its animal control laws.

Tethering or chaining dogs causes them to become frustrated, neurotic and aggressive. A CDC study found chained dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has also declared, "Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggressive behavior." Chained or tethered dogs present a danger to the community. 

Another policy consideration is the inordinate amount of time and other resources animal control must devote to answering calls about cruelly chained dogs and trying to educate pet owners about the harm that comes from this practice. If chaining and tethering is illegal, those animal control resources can be spent elsewhere.  And a ban on chaining and tethering can aid in enforcement of dog fighting laws. Law enforcement can use the ban to go after dog fighters  because many of their dogs are kept on chains.

It should be noted the USDA issued a statement in the July, 1996 Fed. Reg. "Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog’s movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog’s shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog’s movement and potentially causing injury."  Subsequently, in 1997 the USDA issued a regulation banning organizations and people subject to the AWA from continuously chaining dogs.