Earlier this month, the Washington state Senate unanimously passed a bill to regulate and restrict the tethering of dogs. A similar bill, filed to the Texas House of Representatives, could lead to additional regulations in the Lone Star state.
State Representative, Sarah Davis, brought HB 1156 before the House Public Health Committee yesterday.
Davis argued that although the law currently restricts the chaining of dogs for extended periods, the legislation is confusing and difficult to enforce, allowing abusive owners to receive multiple warnings before ever being penalized.
“There is actually record of no one ever being cited because it is so difficult to enforce. So because of the difficulty, abusive dog owners are able to repeatedly offend without any repercussions,” Davis told MyStatesman.com.
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If passed, House Bill 1156 would prohibit dogs from being tethered outside with chains or with weighted restraints. Tethers shorter than five times the length of the dog would be banned. In addition, dogs could only be restrained to stationary objects if access to adequate shade, shelter and water was provided in a safe and dry area.
Davis expressed her opposition to tethering of any kind before the committee, but explained that the new bill would allow for 5 exceptions, including camp sites that require dogs to be restrained, training for a valid state license, and herding livestock or helping in “cultivating agricultural products.”
Several law enforcement officers testified in support of the bill, saying that it would prevent the senseless deaths of many dogs at the ends of ropes or chains. Organizations that advocate for hunting, fishing and trapping rights expressed concerns that the bill would unfairly affect law-abiding dog owners.
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Should the bill pass, violators would be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, and receive fines up to $500. The bill was left pending in the committee, but we hope to bring you an update soon.
H/T to MyStatesman.com
Featured Image via Chained Dog Awareness in New Zealand