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Dog tethering ordinance recommendation considered
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The full Warren County Commission has been presented information about a potential ordinance on dog tethering.

A proposal for Warren County government to create an ordinance to protect dogs who live outdoors was presented to the full Warren County Commission. 

“We’ve received a recommendation to establish a tethering ordinance,” said County Commission chair Blaine Wilcher, to members of the commission during its March session. “The Health and Welfare Committee will be continuing to consider it over the next few months.” 

The recommendation came from Nicole McPeak of the Warren County Pets Lost and Found, a Facebook group established in August 2016 that allows people to post pictures of their missing pets and any they find roaming. McPeak made the suggestion to members of the county’s Health and Welfare Committee, of which Wilcher is also chair.

Many communities are establishing ordinances to protect dogs who live outdoors.  

In August 2020, the city of Bristol banned around-the-clock tethering. Specifically, the ordinance prohibits residents from tying their dogs outdoors between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they obtain a permit. Permits may be issued to those who work nights or to those who own hunting and sporting dogs, in which case a different 8-hour period for untethering the dog will be established. 

Bristol’s ordinance was designed to protect the welfare of dogs and prevent nighttime disruptions to neighbors. Bristol’s newly adopted provision supplements an existing ordinance that sets clear guidelines for the type and length of tether that can be used to restrain dogs outdoors. It also prohibits tethering dogs less than 6 months of age, female dogs in heat, or any dog that would be endangered because of an illness, injury or extreme weather conditions. The ordinance also requires that all tethered dogs have access to essential needs, including food, water, shade, dry ground, and shelter.

In 2019, Johnson City joined a “chain-free movement.” An ordinance that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, limited the number of hours a dog could be chained or tethered unsupervised outdoors to 12 consecutive hours. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2021, it banned chained unsupervised dogs outside for any period of time.

According to Johnson City’s ordinance, fines weren’t issued for those who failed to comply in 2020. After Jan. 1, 2021, fines will be issued for the first two offenses, and a third offense “shall result in the surrender of the dog” to the animal shelter.

At this time, Warren County commissioners have not approved a tethering ordinance or specific restrictions pertaining to tying dogs outdoors.