Tethering ban still possible

Mar. 10, 2013 @ 08:28 PM

County officials could see a proposed ban on unattended pet tethering this summer.

A county committee that has been working on the issue since 2010 approved a ban last August and is awaiting a draft code proposal from County Attorney Mark Payne.
The proposed ban would affect pet owners in Greensboro, the unincorporated areas and small towns surrounding High Point, but not High Point residents. Each municipality would have to approve a code change.
High Point allows unattended tethering. There are no state laws regulating pet tethering.
“I would like to see tethering done away with, but it probably won’t happen. We have a new Board of Commissioners, and people in the rural parts of the county don’t want a change,” said Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Linda Shaw, who also has chaired the county’s animal welfare committee for some time.
Animals tethered in a play or recreation area can get tangled up in their restraints. Some people go on vacation and leave their dogs tied up.
“We see a lot of tangled chains, especially around swing sets in backyards,” said Scott Greene, director of Guilford County Animal Control. “You should not have anything in the area where the dog is located.”
Tethering bans have wide acceptance. More than 100 communities in more than 30 states have passed laws regulating tethering. Officials in the town of Davidson banned unattended tethering last year.
“There is a lot of precedence for a ban, and the workload to enforce it declines in time,” said Frankie Heath of People & Paws 4 Hope.
One alternative is timed unattended tethering, which would limit restraint to a limited number of hours per day. Orange County has a three-hour limit. Another alternative is a lighter chain or cord with swivel connectors to allow more motion.
“We have a limited staff, so if tethering is limited to two hours per day, we could not check all the locations,” Greene said.
Shaw said commissioners probably would not want to consider a code change during budget discussions, and Greene suggested that the animal welfare committee schedule a work session with commissioners.
“I would not expect a decision until after a lot of discussion,” Payne said. “You could have a workshop before the budget is approved.”
Commissioners also hold public hearings on proposed code changes.

Tethering

Chains: County code requires a lightweight cord that is at least 10 feet long for tethered pets. The animals also must have a sufficient supply of food, water and shelter.

Behavior: Tethering can make dogs more aggressive and more anxious, according to the Humane Society.