By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Dog protection measures fail
Dog Resolutions Fail 1.jpg
Supporters of the resolution from left, Nicole McPeak, Colleen Eslick, and Lynn Seals donned matching shirts that read “No Excuse for Animal Abuse” and lined the sidewalk with posters displaying victims of animal cruelty before the Warren County Commission meeting Monday night. - photo by Bethany Porter

Many supporters of two resolutions to improve conditions for dogs left the Warren County Commission meeting disappointed Monday night after both the dog sheltering and tethering resolutions failed.

The resolution for establishing humane standards for sheltering dogs was voted on first and failed by 1 vote. In order for the resolution to pass, it needed 13 votes and there were 12 yes votes and 10 no votes.

The resolution for humane sheltering for outdoor dogs looked to define what constitutes adequate shelter. The 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.

It also failed by the same vote, 12-10.

Commissioners Carlene Brown and Steven Helton were absent.

Before the vote, Commissioner Blaine Wilcher discussed the resolutions.

“Unless we start somewhere, this type of behavior will not only continue, but will be taken as accepted or not worth fighting for,” said Wilcher. “I for one choose to fight not because of any effect it might have on me being elected or reelected, but because it is the right thing to do.”

There was also discussion about different types of dogs preferring different types of shelter. Commissioner Carl D. Bouldin asked about farm dogs who prefer to be outside and Wilcher said Animal Control director Sherri Bradley understands the different needs for different breeds. 

The commissioners who voted yes for adopting the resolutions were Blaine Wilcher, Phillip Stout, Tyrone Sparkman, Christy Ross, Kasey Owens, Daniel Owens, Ron Lee, Robert Hennessee, Steven Glenn, Deborah Evans, David Dunlap, and Carl E. Bouldin. 

The commissioners who voted against the resolutions were Cole Taylor, Joseph Stotts, Tommy Savage, Scott Rubley, Gary Prater, Gary Martin, Brad Hillis, Randy England, Carl D. Bouldin, and Michael Bell.

The resolution for establishing humane standards for tethering dogs stated that “No dog shall be tethered unless the tether is attached to a properly fitted collar or harness. No logging chains or tow chains shall be used as tethers and no pinch, prong, or choke type collars shall be permitted.” Wilcher read the proposed resolution and then opened discussion.

“I hope you see that all of these are very reasonable and if you love your animal, I don’t think anyone would want their animal to be a victim of this type of tethering,” said Wilcher.

Commissioner England brought up his worry for people who own coon dogs.

“Most of them, I would say all of them take care of them so well that they have the swivels on the end and are not heavy, but I worry about Section 7 here where it says that no dog under six months. The reason why is, these dogs they get them when they are pups and when they start to train them with the other coon dogs they get put out with them and they are probably on a chain,” said England.

“Thankfully we have got a good director at Animal Control and Adoption Center that knows those situations. This would not be one of them. It would be understood,” said Wilcher. “Those are not the type of animals we are fighting for. We are fighting for those who are on a chain all day, no break, hot, cold, rain, snow, they knock their bowl over and don’t have water and they might go two or three days.”

Commissioner Savage brought up his concerns saying that many walkers and joggers are uncomfortable and feel unsafe because of dogs running loose and said that dogs with large chains have them for a reason. 

“I have seen so many dogs and you can see them and some of them do have a big heavy chain on them, but I have been around dogs all my life and some of them are aggressive types and some of them if you see some with a big heavy chain, that might be the fifth chain that dog has had on it and they finally found one that they won’t break because their dog is strong,” said Savage. Savage then expressed his concerns about telling people they cannot tether their dogs.

“I’m afraid that if you tell some of these people they can’t tie their dogs, they’ll turn that dog loose and we will be having a funeral. There will be a child or something that will get hurt and I would just like everyone to think about that before they vote on this,” said Savage.

“I don’t think it is saying that you cannot tether your dog. That is not what this ordinance says. This ordinance says that what we are trying to accomplish is that it doesn’t live its life on that chain. That’s what this says,” replied Commissioner Ross. “Everyone can tie their dog if they want to, but do it humanely.”

Wilcher agreed with Ross and told commissioners the resolution does not say people cannot tether their dogs. It says to do it humanely.

Wilcher said despite the resolution failing, he is pleased it received the majority vote and he believes that if all 24 commissioners were in attendance it would have passed.