Alexandria Passes Dog Tethering Law; Sarasota Considers Similar Ordinance–Will Your Town Be Next?

Great news: On June 12, the Alexandria City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting people from tethering dogs for more than three hours cumulatively within a twenty-four hour period. Alexandria Vice Mayor Kerry Donley introduced a draft of the ordinance  in order to protect dogs from neglectful “owners” who chain their dogs outside all day without food and water.


Hopefully soon, officials in Sarasota, Florida, where I live, will also pass an ordinance protecting dogs from neglect and misery. Today, June 22, the Sarasota County Commissioners will be discussing a similar ordinance to ban the permanent tethering of dogs in Sarasota County. If all goes well, the draft ordinance will be “up for adoption” at a public hearing in the future.


The proposed ordinance, which was brought to my attention by Care2 member Diana Cao, who has been in contact with the commissioners for months, is similar to legislation that is already in effect in other parts of Florida, including Seminole City and Miami-Dade County. Several other communities around the nation also prohibit or restrict tethering, and California, Texas, Connecticut, Virginia, and Nevada have statewide tethering laws.


The existing legislation will hopefully give more communities the impetus to pass tethering laws as well. While many of us would never dream of chaining a cherished family member up like a bicycle, many dogs are left to suffer at the end of short chains for hours, days, and even months on end. Forgotten, and viewed as mere possessions, the miserable, lonely dogs often must endure all weather extremes, subsisting on scraps and rain water, with little or no exercise or companionship. Many of them become extremely aggressive after spending their lives in “solitary confinement.”    


By passing—and enforcing—tethering laws, authorities can help protect dogs and public safety. According to a 1994 study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention physicians, chained dogs are 2.8 times more likely to attack than dogs who are not tethered.


You can help break the chains of neglect and abuse by working with your city or county legislators to ban tethering in your area. To read sample ordinances, comments from officials in communities with tethering laws, tips on helping individual animals, and information about approaching your council members to discuss an anti-tethering ordinance, see


The resources should help you propose a tethering ordinance in your area. Dogs are counting on you to speak up for them. Life at the end of a chain is no life at all.


USA Today


Sue L.
Sue L7 years ago

Chaining a dog up every day is a discraceful act of cruelty.People should not get a dog if they do this

Rooibos Bird
IE Ries7 years ago

Merryl G. said: "Oh, as an addendum to my blog below...Southeners are known for their love of animals....NOT! Half of them end up abused,neglected,in shelters,or sent up North!"

Really? Is that why Texas, Florida and Virginia - all SOUTHERN states, already have such laws, as the article points out?

Open mouth, insert feet!!

With regard to the article, it's just too bad that humans have to shame other humans into treating living things with dignity and respect, isn't it. Animals aren't possessions and shouldn't be subject to human stupidity and irresponsibility.

Merryl G.
Merryl G7 years ago

Oh, as an addendum to my blog below...Southeners are known for their love of animals....NOT! Half of them end up abused,neglected,in shelters,or sent up North!

Merryl G.
Merryl G7 years ago

Tying a dog out for a few minutes to go potty is fine,but all day,everyday,whatever weather is just plain cruel,and mean. Dogs are very social animmals. They need love,affection and a chance to run around. Please STOP this cruel punishment,or don't get a dog! What's the point, if not for companionship??

Julie H.
Julie H7 years ago

I'm going to say what irks me more than anything, adopting and animal and then deciding that they don't want that particular animal or it didn't get along w/ other animals that were already there, and then later on get another. Like they are interchangeable or something. Someone who doesn't get their pet neutered or spayed is also intolerable!! There are too many programs out there to help w/ that.

Patty G.
Patty G7 years ago

People that do not properly care for their animals disgust me.They are like children they need to be cared for, unlike children who eventually grow up and can do for themselves, these furry babies need us until the end. I would never mistreat my beautiful Newfie, she is a130# of pure love, my three cats, they are sweet, and tempermental. You have no need for pets if you cannot spend time with them and care for them. They have needs and feelings, they just can't talk, but they don't have to, look in their eyes, watch that tail wag, they love us unconditionally we should give some of that love to them in return. I would never take my Allie to some place and have her caged. If someone can't stay at my home with her, I don't go. She is always there for me and by God I will be there for her. People that say she is just a dog can kiss my behind, she is a better friend than most humans. She is here for me 24/7 and always estatic when I come back from shopping. So you abusers out there better watch out, someday there will be laws that should be in effect right now to take care of your sorry a$$'$ for neglect and abuse. I cannot wait!!! Have a good day to all the Animal Lovers!

Jack T.
Jack T7 years ago

Tammy: "And to Jack T. - get off your high horse! Most people who have dogs, do NOT have a large fenced in yard!"

A dog is not a toy. It is a caring, feeling being that craves and NEEDS your company. It can be the best friend you ever had. But you do not have a God given right to have one if you do not have a suitable situation for it to live in. If you cannot care for a dog correctly - and that certainly includes not chaining it up for long periods, then DO NOT get a dog! Simple!

Mervi R.
Mervi R7 years ago

Great news, hopefully others will soon follow!

Jeannette A.
Jeannette A7 years ago

Passing the law is NOT enough. There needs to be a concerted, ongoing campaign to bring awareness of the law to people. For some, just becoming informed about the damage that chaining does to an innocent animal is enough to change their actions. Then there are those who need to fear the legal consequences before they will stop. Whatever it takes, we must keep this in the forefront of public awareness to keep our animal friends from suffering.