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.
Photo credit: zebrapares