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Wash. lawmakers to consider dog tethering bill

by SUSAN WYATT / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on February 14, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 15 at 8:40 PM

An anti-tether bill is scheduled to heard by the Washington State Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Senate Bill 5649 would put a stop to the tethering and chaining of dogs.

Years ago I witnessed a near-tragedy when a neighbor's chained dog fell off the porch and was nearly hanged. My sister and I happened by just in time to save the poor dog. It was a horrific sight.

The Humane Society of the United States says dogs have been bred for thousands of years to form a strong attachment to a human family. An otherwise friendly and happy dog, when kept continually chained and isolated, often becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and aggressive.

Tethered dogs can become a safety issue as well. Studies show that chained dogs are much more likely to bite than unchained dogs.

According to the proposed legislation an owner may be charged with unlawful tethering if the owner leaves a dog restrained or tied outside by use of a tether, chain, rope, cord, pulley, trolley system, or other device Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.;

  • For more than 10 hours consecutively, or more than 10 hours within any 24-hour period;
  • During any declared weather advisories, warnings, or emergencies that are active for the dog's location;
  • In a manner that prevents the dog from lying, sitting, standing comfortably and without the restraint becoming taut;
  • In a manner that results, or could reasonably result, in the dog becoming entangled on the restraint or another object;
  • In a manner that does not allow the dog to have access to necessary shelter at a time during which temperatures fall below 40 degrees or above 85 degrees, or when there is precipitation, including rain, hail, sleet, or snow;
  • In a manner that results in the dog being left in unsafe or unsanitary conditions
  • In a manner that causes injury to the dog

For a first violation, the owner will be given a written notice of warning and the owner will have 48 hours to remedy the violation. A second violation, or a failure to remedy the conditions within forty-eight hours is a class civil infraction, while third and subsequent violations are misdemeanors.

The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1 in the J.A. Cherberg Building in Olympia.

Members of the Washington State Chapter of Dogs Deserve Better plan to testify at the hearing. The group was formed specifically to address the issue of chained dogs. More information here.

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