New rules for dog owners in tethering ordinance

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By Stan Welch

Anderson County residents now have a new set of rules regulating how they can restrain their dogs. The Anderson County Council gave third and final reading approval to a tethering ordinance that puts a number of restrictions on how a dog owner can keep that dog on his or her property.

The ordinance, sponsored by District Three Councilman Eddie Moore, establishes the minimum length and the maximum weight of the tether that can be used.

The tether cannot be less than fifteen feet long, or weigh more than one tenth of the animal tethered. The use of heavy chain to tether dogs led to the weight restriction.

In addition, the tether must be attached to a “proper” collar, and not a choke or pinch collar, and the dog must be able to move around without becoming entangled.

The ordinance also specifies that dogs younger than six months old, as well as dogs who are sick or in distress shall not be tethered. They can’t be tethered to abandoned buildings or other structures not on the dog owner’s property.

A long line of citizens trekked to the microphone during the citizen comments portion of the meeting to speak for and against the ordinance. Those in support represented the familiar animal rights arguments, while opponents took issue with both the general approach of the ordinance as well as with specific aspects of it.

A driving force behind the ordinance is Freedom Fences, an organization that opposes tethering and promotes fencing dogs. The group offers help to those seeking to fence their dogs, but requires spaying and neutering as a condition for their assistance.

A requirement to restrict tethering to two hours out of every twelve was defeated by a six to one vote.