The city ordinance says seized dogs can be “humanely destroyed immediately” or any time during impoundment if a licensed veterinarian determines it is necessary because the animal is suffering.
Gail Downie, a volunteer with Vote 4 Animals, strongly praised the city for updating and strengthening its laws. However, she said she is a little “scared” that dogs seized by police can be put down immediately.
She said she hopes dogs that are found to be chained up too long will be moved inside, re-homed or allowed to roam in a fenced area.
“… I’m concerned the violated dogs will pay the price with their lives while the violator will only pay a fine,” she said. “But life on a chain is a fate worse than death.”
The Dayton City Commission this week approved amending the city’s laws related to the confinement of dogs.
In 2014, following the death of Klonda Richey, the city approved an ordinance that, among other things, prohibited dog owners from tethering canines outside for more than two consecutive hours in a 12-hour period.
But the law was difficult to enforce, and police have only issued 13 citations since 2015.
City staff took a law that the community wanted and have made it better, said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
Whaley said hopefully the law will change behavior and police won’t have to seize many dogs.
“The reason why we do this policing isn’t to say ‘gotcha’ but to say this is our standard in the community,” Whaley said. “It allows the police, if someone is not following the law, to seize a dog, but what we want is for people to follow the law.”
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Chained dogs suffer in hot and cold weather and are lonely, bored and neglected, and some will develop aggressive behaviors because they are not properly socialized, said Downie, who lives in the Belmont neighborhood.
But she said she hopes officials don’t rush to put down suffering animals. Others agree.
“No one wants an animal to suffer … I would just like to see extraordinary life-saving measures taken (and defined in the ordinance) if an animal is seized by law enforcement and is suffering,”said Brian Weltge, president and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.
Weltge continued, “For example, if the animal is in a physical state where the law enforcement officer believes it is suffering, maybe the animal should be rushed to a veterinary emergency facility for immediate treatment.”
Dayton dog chaining law, passed 3 years ago, rarely enforced