Pinellas County Tethering Law Seeks to Break the Chain
A Pinellas County ordinance that was passed in May by the Board of County Commissioners has put some teeth in a local effort to cut the chain on tethered dogs. Chaining or tying a dog to a tree or other object can be a form of animal cruelty. Dogs are often left without adequate food, water or shelter and are adversely affected when left alone for long periods of time without proper care. Tethering is a potential danger to dogs that get tangled or attempt to jump over fences, and they can suffer from neck and throat injuries due to a taut collar.
Several partners are working in a coordinated effort to identify violators, educate them about the dangers and unlawful act of tethering, and ultimately issue citations to enforce the ordinance. With the support of concerned citizens, Pinellas County Animal Services, SPCA Tampa Bay and the Humane Society of Pinellas are providing outreach to heighten the awareness of the general public, as well as those who are violating the law. The anti-tethering law includes a ban against the tethering of puppies or dogs that are sick or injured and limits tethering a dog to a stationery object, such as a tree or fence, for a short period of time required to complete a temporary task. The dog must have access to water, adequate shelter and dry ground. Tethering with a running line or pulley system is permitted under certain conditions. Ending the violations through education is the primary goal of local humane organizations. The partners will help identify violators and provide educational material to them. The county's code enforcement officers will issue warnings, and if the violation continues, they will issue citations. Pending investigation, citations and fines of up to $500 could be levied against owners that violate the ordinance. For more information on the ordinance, visit www.pinellascounty.org and to report cases of animal cruelty, call (727) 582-2600.
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