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Support a Bill to Help Chained Dogs in Massachusetts

Support a Bill to Help Chained Dogs in Massachusetts

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering legislation that’s aimed at cracking down on people who leave their dogs tied up outside for extended periods.

The dog-tethering legislation (HB 2809), introduced by Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, will prevent dog owners from leaving their dogs tied up for more than eight hours at a time and will make it illegal to leave dogs “chained, tethered or confined” outside from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

“It’s to protect the animal,” Coakley-Rivera said of her bill. “It’s a matter of humane treatment.”

The bill will also prohibit chaining dogs under six months old and put a stop to the use of logging chains, or other materials that are not specifically designed for dogs and require that they weigh no more than one-eighth of the dog’s weight. However, the use of a trolley or pulley system may still be used overnight, in addition to pens that are at least 100 square feet and have access to water and shelter.

Language is also included to protect dogs from “cruel conditions or inhumane chaining or tethering,” which includes leaving dogs in filthy conditions, or leaving them exposed to being taunted and harassed, or at risk of attack by other animals.

Violations would result in a warning or minimum of a $50 fine for a first offense, a fine of up to $100 for a second offense and a fine of up to $300 and impoundment of the dog for a third offense.

Opponents of the bill, including the American Kennel Club and the Massachusetts Foundation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners believe the bill “would “diminish” dog ownership by referring to dog owners as “guardians” and would impose unreasonable limits on tethering and chaining.”

The proposal is backed by the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society and co-sponsored by Rep. Angelo J. Puppolo Jr.

While some municipalities in Massachusetts have adopted restrictions on tethering, there is no statewide law that deals with the issue.

“A dog could spend his or her entire life tethered to a tree and this is not currently against the law,” said Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the MSPCA.


Please sign the petition supporting legislation to help chained dogs in Massachusetts.

Related Stories:

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Anti-Tethering Ordinance Passes in Florida: A Care2Member Success

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Photo credit: zebrapares

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9:34PM PDT on Apr 16, 2014

I have never understood why people who keep their dogs tied up outside have a dog in the first place. Dogs are companion animals. They live to be around their human families. Leaving them tied up outside without any human interaction and proper care is cruel and unnecessary. If you don't want to take care of your dog and spend time with him/her, find him/her another home please!

8:11PM PDT on Apr 16, 2014

No animal should be mistreated. ... ever.

9:51AM PDT on Apr 16, 2014


9:20PM PDT on Aug 11, 2013

It's closed???

9:15PM PDT on Aug 11, 2013

thanks for sharing

8:16PM PDT on May 20, 2013

Signed. I hate to see dogs tied up 24/7.

12:40AM PDT on May 20, 2013

May all chained dogs under unacceptable condition be free and have at least a large yard to run free with water and nutritional food for a healthy life.

6:45PM PDT on May 15, 2013

"Opponents of the bill... believe the bill “would “diminish” dog ownership by referring to dog owners as “guardians”...

Are they nuts??? What's wrong with those people???

7:10PM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

Chaining/tethering any living creature is abuse in the worst form. Perhaps people who insist on doing this should be tethered in the backyard for at least a month, and let them know how that feels. This is a horrible thing to do to an animal, and I never cease to question why in the world someone wants to have an animal if they are just going to tie it up and forget about it. Those animals should be seized, and the people should be monitored very closely to make sure they never have another animal. It sickens me to think people are this hard-hearted.

6:22AM PDT on Apr 6, 2013

No more animal cruelty, please

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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