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Commission takes another shake at tethering ordinance
Changes to Dog Resolutions BW.jpg
Lazarus, one of the five puppies left on the side of the rode to die in early October, was loving on Tammy Lerch during the county Health and Welfare Committee meeting Thursday. Lerch was one of the many animal rights advocates in attendance to discuss the dog sheltering and tethering resolution amendments. Lazarus was brought to the meeting by Animal Control director Sherri Bradley and quickly stole the show. - photo by Bethany Porter

The county Health and Welfare Committee is trying again to get resolutions passed to improve conditions for dogs of Warren County.

On Thursday, committee members made changes to measures which failed in October and have them ready for this month’s meeting of the full Warren County Commission.

Committee chair Blaine Wilcher discussed the changes Thursday.

“This ordinance is basically the same as it was when it was presented last month with one change,” said Wilcher. “We increased the amount of the weight of the chain to 20% instead of 10%.”

Other parts of the resolution that became an issue were proving a dog being tethered is in the estrous cycle and determining the age of the dog. The previous resolution stated that no dog shall be tethered while in the estrous cycle and no dog under the age of 6 months shall be tethered. County attorney Robert Bratcher said it would be hard to prove these two things in court and said it would not be practical to include them.

The committee determined it is already in state law that a dog cannot be tethered while in the estrous cycle or while under the age of 6 months, so members decided removing them from the resolution would not hurt anything.

Wilcher discussed amendments to the resolution addressing adequate shelter for dogs and it generated much feedback. The original resolution stated that shelter is considered to be “an enclosed shelter house with three sides, a roof, and a floor with appropriate bedding.” 

Not considered to be acceptable shelter are crawl spaces under architecture such as buildings, decks or homes, or shelters made from easily degradable materials. The amendment to the resolution makes it where the dog cannot be tethered for more than 10 hours without adequate shelter instead of the original eight hours.

The other part of the resolution discussed was if the committee should remove the sentence stating a crawlspace would not be considered adequate shelter. Wilcher said Sheriff Tommy Myers, who was not in attendance, expressed his concerns over including crawlspaces in the resolutions because some people fix that area for dogs to make them in compliance.

McMinnville Animal Control officer David Denton said he has an issue with crawlspaces being used as shelters when they are not prepared for a dog, but sees no problem with a well maintained crawlspace shelter. He said by including a crawlspace as inadequate will make it seem like owners could not go and fix one up for their dog. 

The committee decided to pass the resolution with the amendments to the time allowed without adequate shelter and with the omission of crawlspaces. 

After further discussion, the committee determined a deck would not be considered adequate shelter if it did not meet the requirements of three sides, a roof, and a bed. If a dog is found under a deck without a bed, three sides, and a roof, the owner could be fined, provided the measure passes. Crawlspaces were determined adequate if they follow the other rules stated in the resolution.

This updated resolutions will go before the full Warren County Commission on Monday, Nov. 15.