The Decatur City Council approved a dog tethering ordinance at a special-called meeting on Monday.
The ordinance starts June 1, and the minimum penalty is $100, plus court costs. Dogs can be restrained with a trolley system. There needs to be at least one swivel so the tether doesn't get tangled. Each dog would be required to have at least 15 feet of space.
It also stipulates that there needs to be a collar that doesn’t “defeat the purpose” of the dog having freedom.
The city attorney said this ordinance was supposed to be on the April 5 agenda, but because of recent events, they moved it up.
"I'm real upset about this myself. I've been trying for 3 years to get this passed. And now, as a result of it not having been passed, Decatur, Alabama made the map in a bad, bad, bad way last week," said Melissa Lance, animal advocate and director of Rescue Rangers Animal Rescue, at the meeting to the council.
On Friday, nine dogs were surrendered from a Decatur home. Police said several of them were found tethered and unable to reach shelter from the rain. One of them appeared to have injuries from a restrictive collar.
A dog tethering ordinance had been considered by the city in previous years but didn’t pass.
"I am completely elated this is finally happening. It's been a long time coming for the animals of our community," said Lance after the ordinance was passed.