In Huntsville, improper tethering falls under animal cruelty. Before Thursday night's vote, you could tether your animal if you met certain criteria and had a proper tethering collar with a swivel attachment. Prior to the vote, someone could get fined if he or she:
"Restrains an animal with a leash or humane restraining device that is not less than ten feet long, unless walking or training such animal, and such restraint must be fixed in such a manner to allow the animal free use of the restraint without it becoming tangled. The restraint must also be an appropriate weight for the animal and must be affixed to a proper tethering collar with a swivel attachment. An allowable tethering collar shall be a collar which is properly fitted to the dog, made of a suitable material other than metal that does not cause damage to the dog's skin, and affixes the dog to a fixed point tether or runner."
Now, you can be fined for tethering an animal to anything at all. Under the new tethering requirement, someone can get fined if he or she:
"Restrains an unattended animal with a leash or tether, or fixed point chaining or tethering the animal, to a stationary object, including but not limited to a house, tree, fence, post, garage, or shed."
City Administrator John Hamilton worked closely with animal services on the new ordinance, and he said this is how the city is keeping up with changes in modern animal care.
"We've modernized faster than the ordinance has kept up with, so tonight was a pretty comprehensive overhaul that gives the director there the authority to implement those programs," Hamilton said.
Fines for both the old and new tethering laws remain the same. The first offense is a $200 fine. The second offense is $500, and the third offense requires a court appearance.