Effort to inform, enforce Pa.'s new law on tethering dogs

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
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Watch the report from John Rawlins on Action News at 4 p.m. on Aug. 7, 2017.

HUNTING PARK (WPVI) -- On Monday, legislators and animal advocates joined forces to make sure people know what's now illegal in the state when it comes to tethering a dog.

Act 10 will go into effect later this month, and it beefs up Pennsylvania's anti-cruelty statutes at a number of different levels. But the focus on Monday was on something that most people may not think as inhumane. It's sometimes called "chronic chaining" or "chronic tethering."

"Continuous tethering can cause psychological damages, where a normally docile dog could become anxious and aggressive," said Kristen Tullio of the Humane Society of the United States.

Right now, the maximum daily duration of tethering a dog is only nine hours out of 24, and only 30 minutes if the temperature is over 90 degrees, or under 32 degrees.

As for the tether length, you want make sure that length of the tether is at least three times the size of your dog, but with a minimum length of ten feet.

There must be a well fitted collar - no chokers, all attachments must swivel, and dogs must have access to water and shade.

The message being that long term tethering is not humane.

"If you have a situation where a dog is not having those social encounters with their owners, they develop further bad behavior. So, that the times that the owner does come out and socialize with the dog, they're like, 'this dog is out of control,'" said Nichole Wilson of the Pennsylvania SPCA.

The regulations are part of a larger animal cruelty law going into effect.

Dubbed by some as "Libre's Law," its namesake is a tiny Boston terrier puppy rescued from a Lancaster farm and now nursed back to health.

The new law will allow for felony charges in deliberate and severe cruelty cases, says its prime sponsor Representative Todd Stephens (R) of Montgomery County.

"We have seen the links between those who abuse animals and those who abuse children or commit acts of domestic violence. So, we need to make sure that the criminal justice system is keeping a much closer eye on those folks who are severely abusing animals just for kicks, because that's a scary group of folks," said Stevens.

Act 10 is a comprehensive bill, which includes the issue of tethering, was signed into law in late June, and will go into effect in late August.


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