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When do anti-tethering ordinances/laws go too far?

Discussion in 'Canine News/Informative Articles' started by Regalis, Apr 25, 2017.

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  1. Regalis

    Regalis Notable member

    So this is the newest ordinances out of Detroit. Supposedly intended to reduce/eliminate 24-7 tethering with heavy chains.

    However, further inspection shows that it by far surpasses just targeting truly abused and neglected dogs and targets anyone using tethers for any reason for more than "3 hours a day".

    Here's my issues/concerns with such ordinances. They do NOT specify "unattended dogs". Meaning if you do not have a fenced yard, or a dog who does not respect fence boundaries, and tether your dog while you are out with them, you're in violation. So, for example. Before we had a fenced yard, we tethered the dogs. During the summer, this could mean they'd be tethered for 12+ hours a day while we were outside (yeah, we're very outdoorsy). Per this ordinance, after 3 hours, I'd be in violation, regardless of them being attended the entire time. Same with when we camp. If we're outside, they're outside, on tethers. That can easily be for 12 straight hours.

    10% of the dogs body weight is arbitrary at best. Though I get the intention. My lab mysteriously snapped every heavy duty tie out we bought (and in all honesty, I'm pretty sure the 30 foot, heavy tie out was more than 10% of his body weight). We started using light chains instead. I have no clue how they broke, he never chewed or pulled at them. He'd just suddenly be loose. It hardly hurt him. But my senior rescue, 10% would have been too heavy for her condition.

    Puppies under 4 months. I don't even get this. I really dont. So people are supposed to leave them couped up inside, whether they are in the house with them or not instead of using a tether?!

    Access to a "secure" food dish, which I'm going to assume is to have food in it, at all times like many tethering ordinances. Uhm. Hello obesity and bloat?! Why the hell do my dogs need a secure food dish if they're not eating while tethered?! They eat before we go out and when we come back in.

    No ropes. Again, WHY?! Unless it's also used as the collar, what's the issue?! I use ropes to tether before they graduate to heavier cables or if they just don't require a heavy cable. My husky did great on a rope. He didn't pull or chew at it. My senior rescue did as well.

    Bare earth. Uhm. Yep, don't get this either. The area my dogs are tethered up north is dirt. I put a blanket down for them. They usually lay in the dirt anyways.

    No tethering out in the open. What?! So you can't tether unless you have a fence?! I can't even. This makes zero sense.

    But I'm being told I'm reading "too far into it". I don't think I am. The ordinances, as written, target responsible owners as much as the idiots. I don't find that even remotely acceptable. Crap like this screams animal rights fanatic and puts not only owners, but dogs at risk. After a maximum of 3 offenses, the dog is to be seized (and likely euthanized).

    Link to the article.
    Anti-tethering ordinance passed for Detroit dog owners
  2. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

    So if you are outside with your dog for more than three hours, is it truly possible some neighbor is calling to report this. It seems most people have better things to do with there time. I don't see that being able to hold up in court.
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  3. Drogon

    Drogon Hot Topics Subscriber

    I believe the law says 'Continuously tether a dog for more than three hours per day'. I'm not sure how to interpret that. If you tether them for an hour then off for an hour that seems like it isn't continuously. I don't see a problem with the law. If someone has to tether their dog for that long, they need to work on obedience.
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  4. Regalis

    Regalis Notable member

    You'd be surprised at the things some folks will report. When it gets really cold here, you're not supposed to have even your dog outside for more than 30 minutes. Insert a husky, out doing pulling work. Yup, got reported because my poor abused dog was outside for more than 30 minutes in the "cold and snow". Fortunately, the animal control officer was cool about it and realized whoever called was an idiot.

    Or they don't have a fence. Or they are out camping. Before we moved here, our yard was not fenced. Neither of my dogs at the time was reliable off lead. Especially the husky. As such, they were tethered. Living on a busy road with a lot of vehicle and foot traffic, tethering was for their safety as much as anything. It was by no means unusual for us to be outside from sun up to sundown, with them out there as well tethered. By tethered, I mean on 30 foot leads with a pool, shade, a dog bed, etc. Many, many dogs are not %110 reliable off lead, even trained (huskies are notorious for this). So I don't agree that it's as simple as training. According to the way this is written though, we would have been in violation. Fencing was not feasible. The house was a rental and the yard was huge. Even when we camp, the dogs are tethered for the majority of the day (per campground rules, they have to be, so training is irrelevant). That is my biggest issue with this. Tethering, when done properly, is not abusive. Leaving my dogs in the house alone or in the tent alone while we are out enjoying ourselves, that seems pretty cruel. Especially if the entire point of this, according to those behind it, is to prevent dogs from being secluded from their family for long periods. If they had included language such as "unattended dogs" then it would make more sense. These are also the same folks who have been behind pushes to ban working farm dogs, prong collars and a bunch of other things they deem "cruel". So I don't particularly trust that any of this is solely about the dogs best interest, but rather them trying to control every aspect of dog ownership.
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  5. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    The law seems to need a lot more specificity, but I suspect there would be cries of discrimination.

    The requirement to have food available at all times is one that really gets me. It implies leaving food there at all times. Imagine you have a dog that will gorge itself as long as food is within reach. Imagine food that is not finished and is allowed to go bad and get maggots and so forth – especially on muggy summer days perhaps after getting wet.

    The article describes something that is well-intentioned but causes problems for some responsible folks like you.

    Too bad they can't say: Hey you – folks who chain out bully breeds on heavy chains and leave them for too long without the things they need: Knock it off.

    The practice of using such heavy chains is unfortunate. No way they need chains that heavy. It's done as part of the image.

    When I had to do tying out, I had two long lengths of vinyl-wrapped fairly heavy gauge steel cable. Used a swivel and a turnbuckle. Two collars in case one failed. Everything was doubled that could be. I didn't want him getting loose, but it was not too heavy on his neck and it was not a killa'-lookin' chain.
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  6. Regalis

    Regalis Notable member

    I'm trying to track down the actual whole written ordinance to see if maybe the news is just neglecting to give full details.

    But if it's truly as written, it's far too vague. Some of it I fully agree with. But the food, age and time limits I do not.

    What kills me is - the people who pushed this being passed, are the same ones who would throw a shit fit if I did have my dogs off lead at my old house. We had a business on one side, apartment complex on the other, woods behind us and a main road in front. To say there were distractions and serious potential for death if a dog bolted is an understatement. There are very few dogs I would trust off leash in that situation. But that's just me, I tend to err on the side of extreme caution.

    But to suggest that me, or someone similar, is abusive and/or doesn't deserve dogs because we tether is ignorant and shameful. Yeah yeah, ideal world every dog is super trained, balanced and has a fenced yard. But back here in reality, I'd much much rather see more owners err on the side of caution. If we keep allowing such insane restrictions on dog ownership, we're going to see a lot more being euthanized than we already do, as well as in increase in stray/loose dogs and most likely attacks related to such.

    Which I guess is where the issue lies. I don't see how having a dog on a really long tie out for 8 hours straight, while the owners are out with it, is any different than a dog being in a fenced yard for 8 hours straight. I'm fairly certain my dogs had more room on tethers at the old house than they do in our fenced yard here!

    But maybe I'm just the weird one. I didn't think it was that uncommon for people to spend most of the day outside, especially during summer, but I'm seeing a lot of comments on other forums that suggest otherwise.

    And just for clarification, I do understand the need and desire to end 24-7 tethering with heavy chains or chaining using a very short lead, etc. But this ordinance is just not the answer. We're likely going to see a sharp increase in dogs being surrendered. And simply getting the dogs off a chain and into the home does not guarantee they will suddenly receive proper care. If the owners don't care for them properly now, that's not going to change overnight just because the dog is inside (and what's to stop them from locking the dog in a crate, room or basement and continuing to ignore them?). We can't legislate compassionate and caring owners. We CAN educate them (which funny enough, is usually what most owners in these situations need, they truly don't know any better) and work with them to make both theirs and the dogs life better or worst case, remove the dogs. Any law that puts good owners and dogs at risk is not a solution.
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  7. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    You raise a good point: What is going to happen in situations where the dog owners have kept the dog outside on a chain all the time and now are going to bring them inside? What's the mood and the treatment going to be like inside that house – especially if the dog starts soiling the house or destroying things?
  8. NikiL02

    NikiL02 Formerly Nlr02 $ Forum Donor $

    What's the issue with taking your dog off the tether and going for a walk? If you're outside for 12+ hours a day in the same yard as your dog, what's the issue with taking them off and tying them to you? Or taking them inside when you go to the bathroom? Are your neighbors all staring in your yard? Or are you more upset that someone is telling you how you are allowed to keep your animals?

    As a note don't really have an issue with dogs being tethered outside 24/7 if they have adequate shelter, water, fed regularly, and are a breed that can handle changes in weather (aka not a thin coated dog like a doberman, or one that will overheat in summer.) I get that some dogs are escape artists; I've owned them. I'm just asking what the real issue is here. You likely can get a copy of the ordinance from the local animal control or city hall.
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  9. Regalis

    Regalis Notable member

    Yes, especially if how they are cared for is not harming them and is going to lead to more dogs ultimately being surrendered.

    There are many reasons walking your dog every 3 hours or tethering them to you is not even remotely practical. Those with health issues (either the dogs or the humans). Heat. Young children. The list goes on and on.

    You can't determine if a dog is neglected, abused, etc based solely on how long they are tethered. Or by an, at the time, empty or not present food dish.

    No one bats an eye at someone locking their dog in the house or a crate for 8, 10, 12 hours a day. What's the difference? Because they're outside? Every dog I've ever owned has preferred to be outside unless the weather is extreme or they are left out there alone.

    My dogs had a 60'x150' area on their tether. That's larger than most peoples entire yard. Without having AC, it's often times nicer outside than it is in my house.

    There are far more practical and useful things they could go after than cared for dogs who may be tethered for more than 3 consecutive hours. Why not regulate food quality? Or require owners to prove their dogs are trained and get adequate exercise? Where does it stop?

    Over regulation of dog/animal ownership is never a viable solution, that is, unless the goal is to reduce/eliminate it completely. The focus should always be on truly abused animals. Not those who are cared for in a way different than your own. Every time a law like this passes, we are one step closer to seeing the tools and training styles we (well, a lot of us anyways) use and implement. You know how many times I've heard people say it's "cruel" to train a dog in IPO (or anything remotely similar) or using any training methods other than %100 "positive"/treat based systems? Or that it's cruel to make a dog work? Those folks are out there, and there are a LOT of them, and they're gaining ground every single time they pass an asinine law that has zero to do with abuse and neglect and everything to do with dictating the particulars of care. It's already happened else where, training collars have been banned in several places.
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  10. MischasMomma

    MischasMomma Site Sponsor Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    The only thing I dont particularly like about this is one good point you mentioned- camping. Mischa is tethered easily 14+ hours when we go camping. Campground rules, all dogs must be keashed or tethered at all times. I even keep her leashed in the tent while were sleeping, and the loop around my foot- just in case Houdini tries something smart! Sometimes its just not practical amd you literally can't get around it.

    On the other hand, for at home, have you considered an underground electric fence? We live on a main road and it has been amazing for us. As soon as the beep gives a warning you're getting close, they back up quick. They learned quickly where the boubdaries are and don't get close. Even for our 130lb pit mix!
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  11. Drogon

    Drogon Hot Topics Subscriber

    If a dog has health issues preventing him/her from being walked, then fixed tethering him/her wouldn't be much better. If it is too hot to walk a dog, it is too hot to tether them. Young children don't own dogs. I'm confused by that point.

    Personally I don't want to see a dog in a crate for even 8 hours. The differences are many. The main difference is that people can see a dog tethered outside. Climate control is another difference. Potential for injuries are another difference.

    I think you should call someone to get clarity on the wording of the law. The phrasing of 'continuously' is not clear. It could be that if you let him off the tether for 5 minutes every 2 hours and 45 minutes then you are in compliance with the law.
    I'm still of the opinion that it is lack of training that would lead someone to tether their dog for hours at a time when they are present. I used to live in downtown Chicago & also near Wriggly Field and trained my dogs not to go into the street if not on heel. I could then let them off lead in court yards or parks without them running into a busy street. I could walk my dogs through the busy downtown Chicago streets without having them on lead. I took them camping and never tethered them. We were outside from dawn until 2/3am. IMHO it is just a matter of connection/bond & obedience training. My dogs have never run from me. Partly from the bond where with me is where they want to be and partially obedience training where they obey and have solid recall, leave it (etc).
    When my father was a teenager they had a dog tethered outside who ended up strangling himself. I'll never forget that story and I'm sure it is part of the reason my parents never tethered any dogs that I know of.
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  12. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I took it to mean that someone looking after young children would have a hard time juggling a dog or dogs tied to their person.
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  13. NikiL02

    NikiL02 Formerly Nlr02 $ Forum Donor $

    Cmon we all have to pee or take showers and whatever you do with your children at that time, you can do to take your dog off a tether for 5 mins. We're making excuses now. Its too hot to take your dog off a tether for 5 minutes? Really? You cant stop what you're doing and you're right there? Investing in an outdoor kennel with a roof isnt an option?
    Sure I'm playing devils advocate here a little but these are arguments you are obviously going to have in the future with animal control.

    I do understand that reason for the law and hope you get some clarity on it. I can see work arounds if it's as strict as you say and you're unwilling to fight it in a professional manner. Which if it's important to you, you should do.

    None of these laws come into affect without public debate and voting. If you're not paying attention they can sneak up on you.

    As a note i would never leave Nero tethered outdide in the summer for over 3 hours unless we were camping. But we go to the mountains and it's much cooler. His recall is a work in progress. But camping I am able to tether him to me as well. It's simply too hot outside where I live to do that to a dog. Huskies have an incredibly hard time here in the summer with temps over 110°F routinely. The neighbor had a great dane who was tethered outside 24/7 and died by age 4 or 5. Thats the reason people make these laws. Its not for good owners; its for all the bad ones.
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  14. Regalis

    Regalis Notable member

    There's a HUGE difference between a dog being "tethered" and going for a walk. Especially if while tethered they have shade, a pool, are on grass, etc. If they have shade, why do they need a covered kennel if they're not out in heavy rain?

    The young kids comment was meant precisely as Oji took it. I'm not going to attempt to walk 2 dogs (who outweigh me) and 2 toddlers, down a busy road by my self. I don't care how well trained the dogs are.

    Not every dog is reliable off lead. Not every dog should be off lead. Not every type of aggression can be trained away. Training is fine and dandy, but what about for those in training who haven't earned freedom? Or those simply not trustworthy enough off lead? Would you really rather see people risk it or keep their dogs AND the public safe? We can't even get people to train their dogs to walk properly on a leash, but you expect them to train them to be reliable off leash?!

    How exactly is being tethered any more a risk for injury than the millions of other things we do with our dogs? Guess I shouldn't hike with them, there's a chance they might get injured. They really shouldn't hike off leash, they might encounter a bear or mountain lion (or whatever is local to you). I've been tethering my dogs in some place or another for well over a decade. Not a one has been injured by it. Because they are supervised. My Gma had a dog killed at the groomers (collar got caught on the crate), so no groomers or crates! That's your logic.

    Climate control - I've already explained this. I, and many others, don't have AC. It's usually nicer outside than it is inside. So if that is the argument, I suppose no one without AC should even own dogs. For example, if it's 90 and breezy outside (which is hot for here) it will be over 100 inside. Even with fans and windows. But by the logic I'm seeing here, keeping them couped up in the house is ok ....

    I HAVE to tether them at camp. So training is completely irrelevant.

    I no longer live in that house, so I think you guys are missing my real point here.

    Dogs who are cared for differently than how you do it are not necessarily abused or neglected. And putting them at risk of being surrendered solves, well, nothing. Yay, more dead doggies! If you think I'm exaggerating, look at how many dogs already cycle through Detroit AC and how many are euthanized. We'll be seeing a sharp increase, no doubt. Sorry, I don't quite get how that is even remotely better or more humane. Meanwhile, the other things that are truly abusive are still unregulated. Severely obese dog? No worries. Dog left unattended in a house/crate for the vast majority of it's life? Totally cool. Dogs that don't get even close to proper or adequate exercise? That's fine too. Dog eating the cheapest grocery store food available? Yup, you're ok. But omg a dog is tethered outside where others can see it but is cared for? Nope, either pay ridiculous fines or surrender it.

    "I" am not going to have to explain anything to animal control as I no longer live in the city (and my yard is now fenced). So this isn't about ME. I used myself as an example, because there are many more people like me who ARE going to be hurt by this. And dogs who are going to pay the ultimate price.
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  15. Drogon

    Drogon Hot Topics Subscriber

    That's too bad. Every day there's a 5'2" 90lb woman who walks her 2 120 lb Rottweilers around my neighborhood with her 3 toddlers.

    Of course not every dog is reliable off lead. Those are the dogs that need more training and should be kept on lead (not tethered).

    I disagree but until such a time as it is trained away they should be kept on lead.

    There is more risk of injury than being in a crate, which was your original question.

    That's a strange rule. I would think they could be on lead and not tethered.

    I'm sorry you don't like my opinion but I agree with the law. There's no reason to keep a dog tethered for 3 hours at a time. If the dog is unreliable or aggressive then the dog should be on lead.
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  16. Regalis

    Regalis Notable member

    I don't live in a "neighborhood". Lots of folks don't. I live on a main drag, with heavy truck traffic. My next closest street? Another, even more main road. So no, I will not now or ever be walking two kids and two large dogs alone.

    Not every dog can even be trained to be reliable off lead. That's what you don't seem to be grasping.

    Same sex dog aggression is many times genetic. There for, unable to be "trained" out. The best you do is manage the behaivor.

    I don't understand why it's ok to have them tied to me, but not tethered. Atleast on a tether, if they get hot or exhausted, they can go hang out in the shade or pool. Dragging a senior dog or one with health issues around is, imo, far more of an issue than tethering them.

    How is there more risk for injury on a tether under strict supervision than in a crate? You realize some dogs flip out in crates, right?

    There are TONS of things I don't agree with. But that doesn't mean they should be against the law. That's the difference. You do you and your dogs, let others do theirs. Or be prepared for regulations you may not agree with. Bet you'd be annoyed and not agree with a law that stated you HAVE to have your dog on leash, at all times, anywhere that is public access. Or that you can no longer do IPO. Don't think there are not very real pushes to see that happen.

    I'm sorry you can't see that what works for you, is not suitable for every owner or dog. And that as long as it's not harming the dog, it really shouldn't be anyone's business.
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  17. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I'll just address two of these here:

    The petite woman who walks her two 120 lb. Rotts and her three toddlers is putting everyone at risk. Trained well though they may be, no dog is totally reliable. Those two Rotts possess probably 4 or 5 times as much power as the woman. We have seen examples of how Rotts are one of the breeds who have shown that they can get into a frenzy of aggression and attacking when more than one of them are involved. What if another dog approached them and a fight broke out? Remember the three toddlers in this scenario. So this woman may present quite a spectacle walking down the street, but it's a very precarious one.

    You purport that all types of aggression can be trained out of a dog? A very sweeping claim. I don't believe that training can always win. Some things are inborn to some dogs. There is nurture, and there is nature. If you're looking at a dog that has already had bad habits establish, and has had bad experiences, it's even more unlikely that training can always solve the problems.
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  18. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I'm reminded of what happened the other week on a run with Oji. The two little girls who were taking their dog for a walk were dragged out into the street as the dog aggressively charged at Oji & me.
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  19. Regalis

    Regalis Notable member

    110% agree.

    Let's not forget that toddlers are clumsy. They fall, they get hurt. How would she carry one in that event?

    I'm not much bigger than she is. I know my physical limits. And that's well beyond it. My priority is to keep my kids, dogs AND the public safe. You can't do that with 2 big dogs and multiple small kids. There are just too many scenarios where that could very easily turn tragic, even more so on busy roads.
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  20. NikiL02

    NikiL02 Formerly Nlr02 $ Forum Donor $

    You're replying like this is an all or nothing debate. Like it is black or white when it's not. How is 5 mins tethered to a person suddenly translated into never tethered or a walk down the street? Why not a walk around the yard or some mental stimulation training? Toddlers need to learn to sit still and interact with family pets so a pet at a time perhaps? And yes, even if a dog has "shade" they need shelter. I suggested an outdoor kennel with a roof for those with escape artist dogs like mine were.
    People balk at restrictions without finding work arounds or fighting it to begin with.

    My dog stays in the yard and the fence is only 2.5ft high in one place. Guess Im lucky.
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