Dayton set to limit dog tethering

Group pushed for tougher rules to lessen aggressive behavior.

Dayton City Commission is considering a ban on the long-term tethering of dogs with a goal of reducing problems related to excessive barking and unsociable, aggressive and mistreated canines.

But the ordinance does not completely adhere to the recommendations of Vote 4 Animals, a local group of citizens that is pushing for a new law.

Under the proposal introduced last week, dogs in Dayton would not be allowed to be tethered to a fixed point for more than two consecutive hours during a 12-hour period. Dogs would not be allowed to be left on cable systems for more than 12 consecutive hours.

But Vote 4 Animals originally advocated banning tethering except for short periods under human supervision.

Members of the group have expressed mixed feelings about the legislation, but some describe it as a good, if imperfect, start.

“I’m relatively happy because we’ll get something on the books and keep working for better safety and less chaining,” said Barbara Neyhouse, a member of the group.

Dogs that are chained for prolonged periods often display aggressive behaviors and cause noise disturbances by barking, according to some local animal advocates and dog wardens. Tethered dogs tend to be unsociable and become anxious, frustrated and stressed out, they said.

The proposed ordinance — which commissioners will vote on this week — would put new restrictions on dog tethering.

Dog collars cannot be too tight. Choke and pinch collars would be prohibited.

Chains or tethers must have swivels on both ends, and they cannot be too heavy. They also have to be at least 15 feet long. Tethered dogs must have access to water and shelter.

Dogs also would not be allowed to be left in a pen or fenced yard less than 150 square feet per dog.

Dogs confined in pens or yards must have access to water and shelter. Violating the law would be a minor misdemeanor.

Vote 4 Animals recommended the city ban tethering except for short periods under human supervision. They also requested the city outlaw dog runs and pens.

Linda Leas, who lives on Oakdale Avenue, said the proposed law falls short of eliminating tethering and remedying the problems associated with the activity.

“I am disappointed that the proposed ordinance allows more extensive tethering than what was recommended,” she said.

But Neyhouse said the legislation will limit and end some types of harmful chaining, and that will lead to fewer mistreated canines and fewer problems of misbehaving pooches.

Dayton police received more than 900 complaints of barking dogs last year, and officials said confined dogs are a significant source of the complaints.

“I think the dogs will be happier, there will be less barking and definitely less biting and less aggression,” Neyhouse said.

The legislation was crafted after studying tethering restrictions in other cities, and it sets a standard that long-term tethering in Dayton is unacceptable, said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

“We heard pretty strongly from the community that they wanted us to support a tethering ordinance, and so that’s what we are doing,” she said.

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