Dependable Erection

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

9 1/2 weeks

Until Durham County's ordinance against dog tethering takes effect.

In theory, this year has been an "educational" year in which the county has been informing its resident dog owners about the upcoming changes in the law. Beginning January 1 through June 30, dog owners who keep their dogs tethered while unattended will receive warning citations from the county Animal Control Department. July 1 will see those citations start to carry financial penalties.

Orange County's warning period for a similar law actually begins in November of this year, and runs through May, after which violations will be punishable by a fine.

I'm not holding my breath that the serial dog abusers who keep renting the house behind mine will ever receive a citation, but maybe, just maybe, their dogs will get lucky and get to spend a little time not tied up. I have a hunch that the complaint i file on January 1 will be the first received by the AC Department.



  • Looking forward to filing a complaint regarding the poor 80-lb mastiff that's been kept in a small pen across the alley from me for the last two-and-a-half years. Penned dogs need larger enclosures per the new ordinance.

    ("Animals less than 20 pounds would be required to have no less than 100 square feet of unobstructed area per animal; 200 square feet per animal for those more than 20 pounds").

    By Blogger toastie, at 10:50 AM  

  • I'll be lodging a complaint against my neighbor as well. He keeps his dog tied out every day, rain or shine, sun or ice, summer or winter. I often refill his water dish and give him treats when the owner isn't home.

    By Blogger Bri, at 11:23 AM  

  • It's a violation of current law not to provide continuous access to fresh water.

    Also, there are minimum length and maximum weight of tether requirements, as well as the need to provide a physical shelter from the elements.

    I think that our county commissioners have no idea of the extent of the problem of animal neglect and abuse in Durham. More people filing formal complaints with the animal control department might wake some folks up on the board.

    By Blogger Barry, at 11:36 AM  

  • What's considered unattended? We occasionally put our dogs out, one at a time, on a line for a little while if we're sick, or running late, or they need to go out at some inopportune time in the middle of the night. Like when i recently was dealing with a broken ankle and couldnt walk them myself.

    we always leave the door open with the screen door in place, and stay within feet of the door inside...

    are they unattended?

    I guess i just get really resentful when i'm looked at with disdain or scorn for putting them out to have a pee now and then. No one knows my situation or reasons why. and they dont stay out all day/night.

    By Blogger Vera, at 12:16 PM  

  • Here's the text of the ordinance:

    (6) Tethering of a dog except under the following circumstances:
    a. Tethering for a period not to exceed seven consecutive days while actively engaged in:
    1. Shepherding or herding livestock.
    2. Lawful dog activities such as hunting training and hunting sporting events, field and obedience training, field or water training, law enforcement training, veterinary treatment and/or the pursuit of working or competing in these legal endeavors.
    3. Meeting the requirements of a camping or recreational area.
    b. When participating in recognized exempt activities or when a dog is on an attended leash, tethered dogs shall be attended by a responsible person and shall be tethered in a manner that does not cause unjustifiable pain, suffering, or risk of death. Tethers must be made of rope, twine, cord, or similar material with a swivel on one end or must be made of a chain that is at least ten feet in length with swivels on both ends and which does not exceed ten percent of the dog's body weight. All collars or harnesses used for the purpose of tethering a dog must be made of nylon or leather.

    Here's the definition of tethering as used in the ordinance:

    Tethering means tying out or fastening a dog outdoors on a rope, chain or other type of line for holding a dog. This shall not include tying out or fastening a dog outdoors on an attended leash.


    In practice, this is going to be difficult to enforce, unless you tie your dog to a tree for hours or days on end in broad view of the rest of the world. This will be a complaint driven ordinance, and i doubt if anyone is going to complain if you tie your dog out for an hour once in a while. Essentially, though, the ordinance says that if you have a dog, you have to have a fence, in much the same way that swimming pool owners must provide a fence around their swimming pools.

    Courts have long upheld the principle that municipalities are well within their rights to regulate the ownership of animals in any way they see fit. There is no constitutional right of pet ownership.

    What i'd really like to see is the ordinance enforced against property owners and landlords equally with their tenants. Landlords who provide substandard housing and don't follow up on complaints made against either the appearance of their property or their tenants' behavior remains such a significant problem in Durham that anything that catches their attention is a step in the right direction.

    By Blogger Barry, at 12:38 PM  

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