Mail for the dogs

Published 9:53 pm Thursday, June 20, 2013

The city will send information about the city’s new anti-tethering ordinance to every Suffolk household after a City Council vote Wednesday.

The new law goes into effect Sept. 1. It prohibits tying a dog outside for any length of time unless someone is outside with the dog.

City Council voted 7-1 to send a notice of the new law to all residences. The dissenting vote was cast by Councilman Roger Fawcett, who preferred less expensive ways of letting the population know about the law.

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“I’m looking at libraries, the city website, newspapers, things of this nature that can help us,” he said. “I’m not so sure a total mailer is the answer.”

Another option, suggested by Councilman Mike Duman, was to send notices only to those households that hold dog licenses — a little more than 6,000.

But that suggestion was shot down for a number of reasons.

“Those are the people that follow the rules,” Councilman Charles Parr said. “It’s all the other folks that aren’t following the rules that need to get a copy of the rules so they’ll understand the rules.”

Parr also said ignorance of the law could be a complaint or potential defense for those who get charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor under the new law.

And, he said, even households that don’t own a dog would need to know about the new regulation.

“We really need neighbors looking out for each other,” he said.

Other council members agreed a mailing should be sent to all households.

“I think it’s very important that we be a city that’s consistent and fair to all,” Vice Mayor Charles Brown said. “Whatever you do for one, you have to do for all.”

City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn said the city will work “as quickly as we can” to get the mailing out to the city’s 30,000-plus households.