Decatur considers dog tethering ordinance

After months of advocating, a non-profit rescue is one step closer to ending dog chaining in the city.

Posted: Oct 15, 2019 7:12 PM

The City of Decatur could soon pass an ordinance banning dog chaining. 

That is partly due to Melissa Lance's organization's initiative. She is the director of Rescue Rangers, a non-profit foster in Decatur. Months ago, she said they started urging the city to ban dog tethering.

"Chained dogs do bite. They're frustrated," Lance said. "Not to mention if the chain gets entangled in something, they can either choke or in the cases of extreme weather, they can either die from heat or cold."

Lance said she has seen the ordinance herself and is confident it will hold owners accountable. If someone reports an owner tethering their pet, they will be contacted by animal services and given a period of compliance.

If they still fail to comply, they will be given a citation with a fine up to $100. 

"This is targeted at people you're seeing with dog fighting, and that type of environment where they're being kept chained to blue plastic barrels," Lance said.

The ordinance is inspired by the City of Huntsville. It passed one similar about a year ago.

Karen Buchan, the director with animal services in Huntsville, said in order for it not to cause overcrowding at shelters, you have to have resources available for owners.

"We have this private group and they help people with their animals and provide food and they also provide the tether," Buchan said. "We get the tether for them and they go out and they set it up for them."

By tether, Buchan is referring to a trolley-type chain. One that allows the animal to move around and reach food, water and shelter. 

She said when the ordinance in Huntsville was first passed, the shelter was more crowded than usual. A year later, it is not an issue anymore.

As far as the proposal in Decatur, Lance said it has been a collaborative effort between her organization, the city and animal services. 

"I'm happy with what they've written up," Lance said.

City council plans to take a vote Monday. This ordinance also requires the dog's shelter and bedding to be well-maintained and safe from diseases and injuries.

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