Anti-tethering ordinance ready for a Hillsborough County vote

07/28/11 Joshua Lee Holton
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A new ordinance is coming before the Hillsborough County Commission that would make it illegal to chain up dogs outside for long periods of time. After more than a year of consideration, the Hillsborough Animal Advisory Board voted to forward an anti-tethering ordinance to the commissioners for a vote.

Last night, animal rights activists held signs in front of the County Center in downtown Tampa. They were advocating for a complete ban on tethering, but an ordinance being considered prevents dog owners from tying up their pets outside for more than 30 straight minutes. Violators could be forced to pay fines if found guilty, or face seizure of the dog if cruelty is discovered. Brian Wilson is with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, and supports the tethering ban.

Current Florida law only requires dog owners to provide their pets with food, water and shelter. But Wilson says that the vagueness of the law still allows for animals to be chained.

While Hillsborough County’s Animal Advisory Board has taken more than 13 months to review the ordinance, Wilson points out that other counties have already taken action.

And while some people may keep dogs as security for their home, Wilson says that tethering could actually hinder a dog’s ability to protect a family.

Isabella Tassi spoke before the board in opposition to the ordinance. She said it would be difficult to effectively enforce.

Tassi also rejected a provision that would exempt agricultural dogs from the ordinance.

The Pinellas County city of Seminole has already passed a citywide anti-tethering law, due to the efforts of their former city council member Dan Hester. He has used his prior experience to help guide Hillsborough County through a similar process.

Now that the ordinance has passed the Animal Advisory Board, the County attorney’s will review the language before putting it on the agenda for a Commission vote.

Previous WMNF coverage of tethering

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