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York Co. borough approves landmark anti-tethering law

A York County borough has made Pennsylvania history by passing the state's first anti-tethering ordinance.

A York County borough has made Pennsylvania history by passing the state's first anti-tethering ordinance.

As statewide anti-tethering legislation languishes in the General Assembly for at least the sixth year, West York borough council on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance restricting the 24/7 chaining of dogs, according to the York Dispatch.

West York Councilwoman Shelley Metzler says the new ordinance will improve the lives of both residents and dogs who - when chained - are exposed to harsh weather and often get little socialization.

The ordinance will apply only dogs tied up around the clock, not those tied for just a few minutes or a few hours. Outside dogs will have to be taken inside or housed in enclosed kennels during mild weather.

The language also includes restrictions on keeping dogs outside in severe weather.

"If there is a weather advisory, like a heat advisory or a blizzard, dogs must be taken in regardless of whether they are in a kennel," York SPCA director Melissa Smith said.

In February, Smith contacted all municipalities in the county, asking them to consider adopting a tethering-restriction ordinance and offered a model language provided by the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA.

Smith said the SPCA will enforce the ordinance, so there is no cost to municipalities.

"From my prior years as a humane officer, this was one of the situations that bothered me most -- the plight of outside dogs, and how miserable their lives are," she told the newspaper. "To play a part in that change is very exciting."

Dogs tethered for prolonged periods of time are twice as likely to bite as non-tethered dogs.

Metzler said she expects the ordinance to reduce barking dog complaints and create a safer environment for people and dogs.

"It's common sense," she said. "What's the good of having a dog if you're going to tie it outside and not interact with it?"


March 7, 2012