Tethering on agenda again

Published 7:29 pm Saturday, March 16, 2013

A discussion on proposed dog-tethering regulations is once again set to take place during the City Council work session this week.

Some members expected the issue to come to a vote this week, but it was placed on the work session rather than the regular agenda. That didn’t please Councilman Mike Duman, who has pressed for the measure.

“I’m not happy that it’s not on the agenda,” he said Friday. “I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen.”

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Council members spent most of their last work session on March 6 discussing the issue. A number of possible regulations were bandied about, including time and weather restrictions.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said during the work session that she favors a complete ban of tethering, which Police Chief Thomas Bennett said would be more easily enforced than a variety of restrictions.

Duman hedged, saying he thinks tethering can be done in a humane fashion — he gave the example of a Driver resident he spoke to who keeps his dog on a 20-foot tether while he is at work, giving the pooch free reign of most of the backyard.

Members were also concerned about the enforceability of the time requirement. Banning tethering for more than a set number of hours would require an animal control officer or other witness to monitor the dog every minute of that time, without so much as a bathroom break, or else the charge could be easily challenged in court.

Duman acknowledged there were several council members who requested more information on the topic at the last work session. He said the issue could be tabled again and moved to the April 3 meeting.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said Friday there’s also a possibility the vote could be placed on this Wednesday’s regular agenda after the work session.

Though rumors of a pro-tethering lobby to council members swirled last week, both Duman and Johnson said they hadn’t heard from anybody who opposed the regulations.

“Nobody that has been an opponent has called me,” Duman said. “The only calls I have received from anyone have been in favor of a tethering ordinance.”

Other topics at Wednesday’s meeting will include a report from the city assessor during the work session and, during the regular meeting, public hearings on the topic of a new Kroger Marketplace in the Hampton Roads Crossing development in North Suffolk.

The work session begins at 5 p.m., followed by the regular session at 7 p.m. Both will be held at 441 Market St.