Florida Senator Dana Young has been a great supporter of Amendment 13 to end greyhound racing.
Now she has agreed to sponsor a state-wide dog chaining law. If passed, people will no longer be able to keep their dogs chained outside 24/7. The law will protect dogs likeChomper of Lake County who died in 90 degree heat, struggling to get to the shade just a few feet away. It will also protect children like Jacksonville’s 17-month-old Dylan Andres who was killed by a neighbor’s chained dog. See below for more information about dog chaining in Florida.
We have to make sure Dana is re-elected on November 6th. If you are a Hillsborough County resident, check here to see if Dana is your senator https://www.flsenate.
We can make Florida a better place for animals if we all do our part!
Dog Chaining Legislation in Florida
Over Half of Florida’s Population and their Pets are Now Protected by Anti-Tethering Laws
Under Florida State law, a dog can be kept chained indefinitely as long as it has water and food. Current state laws do not protect the public from chained dog attacks or attacks from dogs that have broken free from their chains. In the last ten years there have been at least 39 very serious chained dog attacks in Florida—4 of them fatal–mostly involving children (and those are only the ones that have made it to the news). Florida state law also does not protect the dog from strangling itself, being stolen, attacked by other animals or cruel humans, and heat exhaustion—not to mention the lack of socialization and emotional distress it endures. It is for these reasons that communities across Florida (and the United States) are implementing their own anti-tethering ordinances. Sixteen counties in Florida now ban unattended dog chaining— Miami/Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, Collier, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, Lake, Leon, Pasco, Duval, Pinellas, Lee, Hernando, Nassau and Citrus.
What Do the Experts Say about Dog Chaining?
The ASPCA, The Humane Society of the United States, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control, and the U.S. Postal Service all speak out against dog chaining. They cite that dog chaining is inhumane and can lead to dogs becoming territorial and aggressive. Law Enforcement Professionals agree that a well written dog chaining law is a tool that they can use to crack down on dog fighting.
There are Alternatives for EVERY Reason for Tethering a Dog
An anti-tethering ordinance is a reasonable law that encourages the humane treatment of animals. It does not affect the majority of pet owners–most have fences or walk their dogs. Those who chain will have to figure out an alternative to chaining (put up a fence, build a kennel, walk the dog, sit outside with the dog, or not get or keep a dog). Owning a pet involves responsibility and financial commitment. Education is key. Animal Services Directors in counties that ban unattended tethering say that it only takes about five minutes to educate an owner about the dangers of dog chaining and provide alternatives for them.
Goals and Recommended Legislation
There are TWO GOALS that should be kept in mind when considering an anti-tethering ordinance for your community.
1) Public Safety. A study by the Centers for Disease Control found that tethered dogs are three times more likely to bite. The victims of these bites are often children. If left “unattended”, a chained dog can bite a child in a matter of moments. Senior citizens are the second most likely victims of chained dog attacks–often dogs will break free from their chains and chase their victims. Postal workers are the third most likely victims to be attacked.
2) Protecting Dogs. An “unattended” chained dog can strangle itself, be stolen, or attacked by other animals or cruel humans in a matter of moments. With a ban on “unattended” dog tethering, there are not only less chained dog cases reported, there are less bite cases, less nuisance complaints (chained dogs tend to bark at night because they want to go indoors), and less heat exhaustion cases reported. This decreases animal control’s workload and saves taxpayers money.
These goals apply to ALL communities (urban or rural). Demographics, which are typically an argument against anti-tethering legislation, has shown no relation to the success of an anti-tethering ordinance.
Keep in mind that vague language can create loopholes in the ordinance for those who chain 24/7. Timed ordinances which allow unattended tethering have proven to be too difficult to enforce. It would require an animal control officer to physically be present to witness the duration of time that the dog is tied out. Timed ordinances also do not meet the two goals of protecting the public and the dog. Palm Beach County originally had a timed ordinance and changed it to ban unattended chaining when they found that the timed ordinance did not solve the problem. “The owner must be outside and in visual range of the tethered dog” is the tried and true wording that most communities are using.
Let your legislators know how you feel about dog chaining—phone calls, e-mails, and in-person meetings are all ways that you can make a difference for the chained dogs in your community. Remember, your legislators work for YOU. Dog chaining can be a thing of the past if we all do our part.
REMEMBER TO VOTE YES ON 13