Tethering law starts Sunday

Published 12:12am Saturday, August 31, 2013

A new ordinance set to go into effect Sunday prohibits dog owners from tying their dogs up outside unless someone is outside with the dog.

Violators of the ordinance could be found guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $250.

Suffolk Police Maj. Dean Smith said three dogs have been turned in at Suffolk Animal Control by people who did not feel they could continue to care for the dogs and heed the ordinance.

In addition, Dogs Deserve Better in Smithfield said it received a dog named Shaggy earlier this month from a Suffolk resident who was “unable to provide suitable shelter” for the dog in light of the new ordinance.

“We want to make sure the animals are well cared for,” Smith said, adding he thinks the ordinance is a good idea.

“Dogs can do unpredictable things.”

The city sent a notice to every household about the new regulation. An educational program also has been running on the city’s cable channel, Smith said.

“We certainly want to educate the public,” he said.

Smith said Animal Control officers will use their judgment in individual situations to decide whether to issue violations right away.

“If the officer finds it’s just a situation where somebody just didn’t know, then we’re certainly going to educate them, but if we continue coming back to the same situation, we’ll certainly have a criminal matter,” he said.

He also noted that state law and city code prohibit other types of animal neglect or abuse, including failing to provide enough space, food or water.

City Council passed the ban on chaining dogs in March, then amended it in June to allow animals to be tied up if someone is outside with them.

In a press release this week, the city noted that alternatives to tethering include fencing the yard, using an outside kennel or run, or using doggy daycare.

For more information, contact Suffolk Animal Care at 514-7855.

  • Savannah

    Thanks, Mr. Spears :)

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  • Savannah

    SNH, your comment area is broken.

    I’ve responded to this article 3x now, and it won’t post. :(

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    • Savannah

      Still broken.

      Tried this 6x now.

      Suggest Removal

      • R.E. Spears III

        Savannah, your comment got caught in our spam filter. I’ve approved it now, and it should be appearing on this story.

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  • ncarolinacountry

    What’s the difference between a dog in a kennel and a dog with a proper fitted collar, a tether at least 10′ long, area clear of obstacles, adequate shelter, food and water ??? Really… this is stupid.

    I sorta feel sorry for you subjects of the socialist Suffolk, but you are the one’s that vote in your bonehead City Council.


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    • Savannah

      What’s the difference between a dog in a kennel and a dog with a proper fitted collar, a tether at least 10′ long, area clear of obstacles, adequate shelter, food and water ???

      Not much, really. My dogs would flip out if they had to live outside, but the problem is that most of the people out here who are tethering properly are a minority.

      I see dogs all too often chained up with an ill fitting collar (if they even have a collar and not just a rope half-arsed around their neck), no shelter, and 2 empty bowls next to them. My son, who works in the veterinary business will also tell you of the horrors he’s seen when dogs are brought in that live the “backyard life” improperly. Hell, most of these people won’t get heartworm preventive, or even flea and tick preventive! My dogs only go out to use the restroom or lie in the sun when they want to, which isn’t often in the warm months, and they’re always on preventive. My cats, all indoor, also on heartworm and flea preventive. Fleas and ticks hurt and heartworm will kill them, a slow, painful death. I know someone out here who owned 2 GSD’s, both “outdoor” dogs because his son had allergies. Neither dog on preventive. The male died, gaping and suffering, the female wasn’t long to follow. Heartworm. TOTALLY preventable.

      I don’t feel sorry for us. I feel sorry for the dogs that people adopt and leave outside to cry in storms, in the heat and in the cold, shelter or not. I feel sorry that laws protecting animals aren’t stricter, and I feel sorry that this new law, like every other law here in Suffolk, animal or human, will be left to the “interpretation” of the officer called to the scene, because it won’t be enforced until it’s a dire situation.

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