Activist wants Hillsborough to forbid pet owners from keeping their animals chained outside listen08/19/10 Seán Kinane
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5 January 2010 update: Hillsborough County wants you to weigh in online
Should Hillsborough County forbid pet owners from keeping their animals chained outside? One community activist, Barbara LaPresti, is gathering signatures to present the County Commission in support of an anti-tethering ordinance.
“The petition is calling for Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners to consider a non-tethering -- the word tethering means an anti-chaining -- of dogs in Hillsborough County. This type of ordinance has already been enacted in other cities, in other counties, throughout Florida, as well as throughout the United States.”
What are some issues with tethering? Why is it bad for people to have their dogs on a leash?
“That’s a good question. First of all, the dogs are exposed to the elements. Typically dogs that are chained up are dogs that are exposed to wasps, flee, heartworm, snakebites, the elements of the weather. For instance, here in Florida, we have so many harsh thunderstorms. When they’re chained up, they’re often without adequate shelter. So, these dogs need someone to come forward for them, no their behalf and be a voice for them.”
You were telling me there was one particular case that really got you interested in this. What was that?
“There was, yeah. It’s a situation, for the last few years, everyday I drive by the same dogs that are chained up. And one dog, in particular, really caught my eye because he is on a very short chain, in a yard that is fenced in. It’s kind of an oxymoron that he’s chained up, but his situation is such that he never had a water bowl and he didn’t have any adequate shelter. So, being the concerned citizen that I was, I contacted animal services in the hopes that we could convince the owners to do something about this situation. Animal services gave me a case number. A couple of months went by, and I hadn’t seen any changes, so I contacted animal services again. Still, a couple moths went by. Throughout the course of a year I contacted animal services on four different occasions, regarding the same case number, and I couldn’t get any follow-up. Ultimately, I ended up writing a letter of concern the director of animal services. The director of animal services emailed me back, and he indicated that he did send an animal control officer out to the residents, the owner received four notices. At this time, due to the budget constraints, that was all that they could do. And they would try to follow up with the situation, in the future. So, that dog still remains on that short chain, exposed to all the elements of the weather, and outside bugs, and rodents, and so forth. It’s really tough to see that day in and day out. That’s what compelled me to do some research and see, are there other states that are perhaps doing it differently? I found out that California, Nevada, Connecticut, many, many other states that have already enacted this ordinance. Then I found out that the city of Seminole, the city of Gulfport, and also Miami Dade County have enacted this ordinance. So, I feel like it’s just a matter of time before Hillsborough County will follow suit.”
If people want to help get involved, if they either want to sign the petition, or if they would like to get more involved with this, how can they contact you?
“Absolutely, they can call me on my cell phone…I’m encouraging everyone to put the link where they can sign online. There is a petition site online, where they can sign their name if they’re a resident of Hillsborough County. They can also request from me, I will send them the petitions. And if they would collect signatures, they can post that at their vet’s office, at the grooming office, wherever they can collect signatures. Ultimately, my goal is to collect a few thousand at a minimum, before I go before the board of commissioners.”
Barbara LaPresti phone: 813 494 4896