After months of alterations, the county’s Health and Welfare Committee is looking to take a bite out of animal abuse with its tethering and sheltering resolutions that will be coming to the next full Warren County Commission meeting this Monday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m.
The resolutions were drafted out of concern for the wellbeing of dogs that are permanently tethered outdoors, some of which are found to live in neglectful conditions. Citizens brought their worries to commissioners and the initiative caught fire.
“What I’ve been saying all along is that you have to start somewhere,” said Health and Welfare Committee chair Blaine Wilcher. “I’m not in favor of adding more laws to our citizens, but this is the same as speed limits. There’s a good percentage of people who would run wide open and see what happens without them. Without laws to limit the type of animal abuse outlined by the resolutions, it is not going to decrease.”
Both resolutions, if implemented, will carry $50 fines per violation. Wilcher pointed out that he hopes there will be few instances where fines will be needed, as education and guidance are at the forefront of the resolutions.
“The biggest impact will be educating people on how to better care for animals,” said Wilcher. “I think this will give us the ability to teach people how to do better if they didn’t know before, and Sherri Bradley at Animal Control has said it will give them a tool they’ll be able to use.”
Important features of the proposed tethering policy are stipulations placed on when, and in what ways, dogs may be tethered. The measure heading to the full County Commission states 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.”
It requires swivels on both ends of the restraint so dogs do not get tangled. The environment dogs are in while tethered should also contain adequate shelter and be free of potential strangulation hazards.
The resolution for humane sheltering for outdoor dogs looks to define what constitutes adequate shelter. As stated in the proposed resolution, 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 will be crawl spaces under architecture such as buildings, decks or homes; shelters made from easily degradable materials will similarly be considered insufficient for outside use.
“I have received no calls against the resolutions we are proposing. I have received no negatives, only positives,” said Wilcher of his personal reception from the public. “I feel like if someone has an issue with these two resolutions, then they’re probably part of the problem. If you’re taking proper care of your animals and love them, you won’t be guilty of doing what’s being mentioned in these two resolutions.”
The resolutions must receive Warren County Commission approval before implementation.