On May 23, 2012 the Cleveland City Council passed amendments to the city code that strengthen the ability of animal control to help dogs left on chains. The new law, Section 603.092, prohibits anyone from chaining or tethering an animal in any of the following circumstances:
– For more than six hours in a 24 hour period and not more than 2 consecutive hours with no less than a one-hour period between tetherings
– Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
– If a heat advisory has been issued by a local or state authority or the National Weather Service
– If a severe weather warning has been issued by a local or state authority or the National Weather Service
– If the tether is less than 20 feet in length
– If the tether allows the animals to touch the fence or cross the property line or cross onto public property
– If the tether is attached by means of a pinch-type, or choke type collar or if the collar is unsafe or is not properly fitted
– If the tether may cause injury or entanglement
– If the animal does not have access as required by law to food, water or shelter
– If the tether is made of a material that is unsuitable for the animal’s size and weight or that causes any unnecessary discomfort to the animal, or
– If no owner or occupant is present at the premises.
The first violation is a minor misdemeanor and the second a misdemeanor in the fourth degree. A third and subsequent offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree which carries a fine up to $1,000 and jail time of up to 6 months. Also, a violation is a misdemeanor of the first degree if the violation results in illness or injury to the animal.
The local animal control supported the ordinance. Too many times they responded to complaints about barking dogs to find the poor animals left too long tied up outside, tied up improperly, left in bad weather, or tied up without access to water. This ordinance should give animal control the tools to stop the abuse – and neighbors’ complaints about barking.
In fact, Lawrence County, Kansas, adopted an anti-tethering ordinance prohibiting dog owners from keeping dogs chained outside. In 2005, there were 800 calls to the Lawrence Humane Society concerning cruelty to dogs and dog fighting; in 2006 as of September 1, there were only 260 complaints. City officials attribute the decline in large part to the anti-tethering ordinance.
For more on anti-tethering laws and why it is so important to get dogs off chains, visit this link.