LOWELL -- A dog tethering ordinance passed by the City Council on Tuesday could result in residents being fined if they restrain a dog to a stationary object.
The ordinance requires dogs only be tethered to cable runs or ground anchors that allows cables to swivel, said Ray Drummond, Lowell animal welfare director. He said there cannot be any obstacles the dog can get tangled on.
Residents who don't comply could face a fine between $80 and $200, according to the ordinance.
"I have seen dogs injured, mainly in the summer when they get thirsty and the cable and chain has tangled around them," Drummond said. "They will break legs, cut their skin trying to get to water."
The ordinance will be effective immediately, Drummond said. He said he will not cite residents for at least 30 days to give them time to learn about the ordinance.
Dean Bitner, City Council Ordinance Committee chairman, said the law will give Drummond a way to remove tethered animals from dangerous situations. He said it also helps the city enforce humane treatment of dogs.
"In the past, all he could do was say 'Can you please get the dog out of the heat,'" Bitner said. "Now he can strongly encourage doing the right thing."
Drummond said he decided to propose the ordinance after receiving calls from the public. He said it's common to see people tether dogs to a tree, old car or other stationary objects. The dog can become tangled in minutes, he said.
"It is something that has really been an issue for awhile now," he said. "All I see is good about this. Considering it can save an animal's life, I think it will be worth the expense it could put on a pet owner."
The ordinance states only one dog can be tethered to a cable. It also states the dog should have access to water and shelter. Residents will be warned with the first offense, Drummond said.
"Once I have warned you, you will most likely get a ticket the second time," Drummond said. "The fine will depend on the severity of the case. If I come back out there and you have an injured dog, the fine will be more."
Drummond said untangling a dog also can be a safety hazard for city workers.
"We have to be careful," Drummond said. "The dog is often in distress, and they don't know you are helping them. They are lunging and jerking. You can get injured yourself by the dog and that is not the dog's fault."
People are less likely to tether dogs in the winter, Drummond said. He said people tend to do it more in the summer months. He said hot days can be dangerous for dogs if they are unable to get to shelter or water.
Drummond said he spoke to city officials in Fayetteville and Springdale before proposing the ordinance. He said both cities have dog tethering ordinances.
NW News on 01/21/2015
Print Headline: Lowell approves dog tethering ordinance