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Celebrity wants anti-chaining law

Published 10:54pm Friday, February 15, 2013

A well-known comedienne has thrown her influence behind the fight to regulate dog chaining in Suffolk, but the City Council member who started the discussion says it’s not necessary.

Wanda Sykes, a native of Portsmouth, wrote the City Council on behalf of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, pleading for the body to enact anti-chaining laws.

“Dogs are wonderful social animals who want little more than the opportunity to curl up in a warm, comfortable place at night and receive a few scratches behind the ears and tummy rubs,” she wrote.

“Dogs who are forced to live at the end of a chain — often with inadequate or no shelter at all — suffer from loneliness, frustration and distress. … Studies also show that chained dogs are much more likely to become aggressive and attack people.”

The City Council in January heard a presentation on the issue and decided to wait and monitor the issue for two months. But Councilman Mike Duman, who requested the initial presentation, said Thursday he believes the council will take action soon to regulate chaining.

“I believe I have garnered enough support from council,” he said. “Any outside influence, while it’s welcomed, is really not necessary.”

Virginia state code addresses dog chaining by regulating the length of the chain and the manner in which it is fastened. But Duman said at the Jan. 16 meeting it leaves too much room for interpretation and encouraged his colleagues to vote with him to create a more restrictive city ordinance.

However, most of them preferred to wait and let Police Chief Thomas Bennett report back on the situation in two months.

Bennett said his animal control officers responded to 100 calls about tethering in 2012 — less than one-fifth of one percent of their total calls. Less than a tenth of the tethering reports resulted in a violation notice being issued.

But PETA said in an emailed statement Wednesday that it responds to more dog-tethering calls in Suffolk than any other city in the area.

“It is something that hasn’t been dropped by any stretch of the imagination,” Duman said Thursday. “I am very confident I will be able to garner enough support to put us in a position to create an ordinance to address tethering. The public needs to know this is an issue we are considering, and we’re doing that without the pressure from outside folks.”

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  • RobertEStephens

    Honorable Council Members,

    An ordinance against continuous dog tethering, similar to the ordinances enacted in neighboring towns of Hampton, Virginia Beach, Smithfield, Portsmouth and Norfolk, along with an awareness campaign is long overdue in Suffolk. As a member of the Suffolk Humane Society’s Board of Directors (and a dog owner), I ask that you give this matter due consideration in your upcoming review process. There is overwhelming and compelling evidence–both locally and nationally–that tethering animals causes aggression, making them more likely to bite children. These animals often face unconscionable and horrific acts of cruelty which often result in serious injuries and even death…as a direct result of tethering.

    Moreover, as you search for a balanced, fair and equitable solution that is also enforceable, please take into consideration that a strong and focused public awareness campaign on prevention will serve to alleviate concerns about costs and/or additional levels of bureaucracy. Simply put, if the public is “informed” about the consequences–both for the animals and enforcement–compliance will likely be met with cooperation.

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  • chief601

    Mr Duman – how about looking into city departments that aren’t functioning correctly and keeping your big liberal nose out of things that aren’t really a problem. Oh yes, it will keep our minds off the real problems, right? And the “celebrity” – concern yourself with Portsmouth if you still live there.

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  • OceanaJones

    Wanda Sykes? Celebrity? Never heard of her. Anyway, it’s bad enough for Suffolk’s citizens to have to endure laws passed to appease Ex “celebrity” mayors (Andy Damiani “green Can Tax”)Now we have PETA girls coming here sticking their noses into our business and helping our “celebrity” councilmen spend more and more of our tax dollars. Passing yet another “pet” LAW is nothing more than creating another opportunity for Charter Cable employees to SNITCH on their customers.Folks with even a little common sense don’t chain their pets anyway.State laws protect us from the few bone heads that do.

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  • thekytikat

    One tenth of one fifth of one percent. So.. if my math is right, 1/50th of 1% of all calls to the cops are actual tethering violations. For this, we need to waste the Chief’s time & taxpayer resources doing a study on further restrictive laws? Seriously? The state law is working just fine. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Maybe Mike Duman ought to be more worried about where he’s going to find the extra 9 million the schools want for their budget this year.

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