Update May 27, 2009: Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has approved S.B. 132, and itÂ is now law!Â Â (A copy of the new law is attached at the end of this article and can be downloaded.)
Karen Goodman, a Nevada resident,Â led a grass roots effort to pass this bill and stop cruel chaining of dogsÂ in Nevada, and thanks to her and your calls, emailsÂ and letters to legislators and the governor, thousands of dogs will live and live better lives.Â
Nevada is now the 3rd state, along with Texas and California to limit specifically the number of hours dogs can be tethered or chained each day.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2009 in Nevada dogs cannot be chained more than 14 hours per day, and any tether must be at least 12′ long or if it is a pulley or trolley, allow the dog to move at least 12 feet in one direction.Â
Nevada joins 12 other states in placingÂ restrictions onÂ tethering or chaining: California (Health & Safety Code Sec. 122335), Texas (Tex. Health & Safety Code Sec. 821.077), Connecticut, (Conn. Gen. Stat. Â§ 22-350a), Tennessee (Tenn. CodeÂ Â§39-14-202),Â Delaware (7 Del. C. Â§ 1704), Maryland, (Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Â§10-623),Â Michigan (Mi. Comp. Laws Â§ 750.50), Vermont (13 V.S.A. Â§ 365),Â MaineÂ (M.R.S. Â§ 4015), North Carolina (N.C. Gen. Stat. Â§14-362.3); Virginia (Va. Code Â§3.2-6500) and West Virginia (W. Va. Code Â§ 61-8-19(a)(1)(H)).
For more on this bill, read ALC’s earlier reports below.
Update May 16, 2009: By a vote of 32-8, the Nevada Assembly has passed S.B. 132, the landmark bill that will restrict the number of hours a dog can be chained to 14 per dayÂ and require that any tether be at least 12′ long or if it is a pulley or trolley, allow the dog to move at least 12 feet in one direction.Â
The state senate has already passed the bill. It’s on to the governor.
Tethering or chainingÂ is both cruel and dangerous to chain dogs for long periods. Nevada animal control support this bill. Dogs that are chained for long periods 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 AgricultureÂ (USDA) also oppose chaining dogs for long periods. 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.Â
S.B. 132 is a common sense bill that allows people to tether dogs while they are at work and then helps get dogs off chains for a period of time each day for much needed socialization and exercise.Â Tell the governor signing this bill, S.B. 132,Â is a matter of community safety and stopping animal cruelty.Â Â
Original report: The Nevada Senate has voted to pass the anti-tethering bill, S.B. 132!! The vote was almost unanimous, just one no vote from Sen. Bernice MathewsÂ (She is in her last term…..)
The bill was amended in the Senate.
The amended bill, S.B. 132, reflects a limit of 14 hours per day for tethering and also restricts the use of choke, chain and prong collars in tethering or chaining dogs.
The amendments clarify that a tether, tie, chain or other restraint must be at least 12 feet long. Dogs tied to a stationary object must have a restraintÂ thatÂ allows the dog to move at least 12 feet. Dogs tied on trolleys or pulleys must be able to move a total of at least 12 feet.Â Â
Also, the amended version does not specify pen sizes for dogs but does state enclosures should be appropriate for the size and breed of the dog.
The bill would not apply to dogs (1) kept by veterinarians or in a boarding facility or shelter or temporarily at a campsite or as part of a rescue operation, (2) being trained for hunting or used for hunting during hunting season,Â (3) entered in an exhibition, show, contest or the like;Â (4) living on land that is directly related to an active agricultural operationÂ if the restraintÂ is reasonably necessary to ensure the safety of the dog; (5) whose owners are engaged in a temporary task up to one hour.Â Â
"[A]gricultural operation" means "any activity necessary for the commercial growing and harvesting of crops or the raising of livestock and poultry."
Before the bill was voted on by the state Senate today, it was considered by theÂ Senate Natural Resources Committee which held a hearing before voting to pass it. During the hearing, senate committee members heard from supporters and opponents of S.B. 132. Â Â
One of the witnesses was Dr. Frank McMillan, a long practicing board certified veterinarian, clinical professor of veterinary medicine,Â and noted author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters as well as the textbook,Â Mental Health and Well-being in Animals.
Dr. McMillan told the committee,"The term â€˜emotional pain’ has been around a long time, but only recently has research in neuroscience shown that this is not just flowery language – that the brain circuitry of animals is wired to induce emotional feelings that hurt.Â In fact, the neurological systems controlling the emotions of loneliness are located in the brain right next to the circuits that give physical pain its hurtful sensation. The evidence now suggests that the feelings of loneliness evolved from the more primitive feelings of physical pain.Â
"And while physical suffering gets all the attention, the fact is that emotional suffering in animals can be even more distressing than physical pain.Â In the lab, researchers have compared an animal’s response when forced to choose between physical and emotional pain.Â Consider one simple experiment that is particular relevant to the issue of dogs being left alone on a chain: Researchers separated dogs from their human companions and put an electrified metal grid between them.Â The dog had a choice: endure the emotional pain of loneliness, or endure the physical pain of electric shocks to rejoin their human companion.Â What do they choose?Â It isn’t even close.Â They overwhelmingly choose to cross the grid-being shocked the whole way.Â They choose to suffer the physical pain in order to spare themselves the emotional pain.Â
"[T]he next time you see a dog that is living his life on a chain, …know that the suffering is there – inside – and that that dog is shackled to his own personal pain – until someone unchains him from it."
Nevada breeders, however, have decided to oppose this bill that would eliminate cruel chaining of dogs.Â The Nevada Veterinary Medical Association has also announced opposition to the bill, S.B. 132.Â
Talking points – Why Nevada legislators should vote yes on this bill
â€¢1) CDC-Chained dogs are 5x more likely toÂ bite children, 3x more likely to bite adults.
â€¢2) American Vet Medical Assoc.-many fatal attacks andÂ dog bites involve animals that have been restrained.
â€¢3) Nat’l Canine Research Council-Almost 30% of all Fatal attacks are from chained or penned dogs.
â€¢4) ASPCA-81% of fatal attacks were by dogs that were isolated.
â€¢5) Cornell Univ. College of Vet Med-both chained andÂ penned dogs suffer from similar behavior problems.Â
â€¢6) HSUS-Dogs kept continuously outdoors, chained orÂ penned, will suffer from the same boredom,Â loneliness & isolation leading to aggressive behavior.
â€¢7) Nicholas Dodman, Ph.D. in vet med/Tufts Univ-"chaining dogsÂ makes them more aggressive.Â They are natural socialÂ animals & it induces "isolation-induced aggression"Â & creates a "junkyard" dog effect.Â They basicallyÂ go mad."