A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals employee shot this photo on Division Street in Suffolk in January 2011. The organization recently lobbied, through a well-known comedienne from Portsmouth, to get the city to enact an ordinance against dog chaining.
A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals employee shot this photo on Division Street in Suffolk in January 2011. The organization recently lobbied, through a well-known comedienne from Portsmouth, to get the city to enact an ordinance against dog chaining.

Archived Story

Duman gets tethering vote

Published 11:25pm Thursday, February 21, 2013

Councilman Mike Duman made good Wednesday on his promise to push an ordinance regulating dog tethering to a vote in City Council.

After hearing a report on the issue, the governing body voted last month to monitor the situation for 60 days. But Duman said last week he thought he had garnered enough support to move the motion to the floor again.

All of his colleagues except one support him. Vice Mayor Charles Brown preferred to continue monitoring the situation.

“It’s very important we take our time and do things right,” Brown said. “What’s the big rush with this thing? I don’t understand it.”

Brown was the sole vote against rescinding the Jan. 16 vote, but he still supported the subsequent, unanimous vote to direct the city attorney to draft an ordinance regulating the chaining of dogs.

Duman said the ordinance should address various aspects of dog chaining such as the length of the chain, length of time a dog can be tethered, time of day, weather conditions and more. He also said he wanted to see a requirement in the draft ordinance that owners who chain their dogs must have them spayed or neutered.

Last week, Portsmouth native and comedienne Wanda Sykes threw her influence behind the debate on behalf of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. She sent letters to Suffolk and Newport News, which is the only other Hampton Roads city that does not regulate tethering at all.

For localities that lack a city ordinance, Virginia state code addresses the issue by regulating the length of the chain and the manner in which it is fastened. But Duman has said he believes the state code is too permissive and ambiguous.

Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett said last month 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.

The draft ordinance is set to be considered at the March 20 meeting.

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