Limit Unattended Tethering of Dogs in Pennsylvania

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 My journey began on the way to pick up the dog.  When I brought him home, he was unsure of what appropriate behavior was inside a house and followed my every move. Three years later, he has always stayed by my side, yearning for and thriving from human contact because of the little-to-none interaction he had with his previous owners. However, the only difficulty present this day is when he becomes slightly possessive when he is on a leash for a walk if any other animals or humans attempt an interaction.  However, he is the ideal dog when he is at-large; he allows any dogs and individuals to come and greet me. After many years of tender human interaction, he still shows signs of temperamental issues when subjected to a leash.  

Dogs are known the United States as man’s best friend, as they show positive social behaviors and loving interactions with humans. However, it is not uncommon to see many dogs live their lives on the end of a chain in the state of Pennsylvania. Tethering is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a line (as of a rope or chain) by which an animal is fastened to restrict its range of movement." Fortunately, the state of Pennsylvania has many laws against animal cruelty, however, there are minimal laws regarding the tethering of dogs.  

Currently, the State of Pennsylvania has Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes in place, which refers to animal cruelty in section 5511(c).  In addition, House Bill No. 323 addresses a policy change to complement the current bill by including the limitations on tethering of dogs. This bill would create a strict timeline that would not allow dogs to be tethered unattended between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am.  In addition, the bill would ensure the dog would get the full range of motion, enforcing that there are no objects in range to which the dog could get entangled.  The tether would also have to be at least six feet long, or five times the length of the dog from the tip of the nose to end of the tail, whichever accommodates a greater distance, to ensure the dog has adequate range of motion.  In addition, the dog must have a well-fitted collar to ensure that there is no trauma or sores forming around the collar. As for shelter, the dog must have an adequately shaded area to protect them from the sun. Lastly, if the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or a National Weather advisory, the dog is forbidden to be tethered outside. 

This bill helps improve the dogs’ health as well as the communities’ general welfare. With this bill being passed, there would be a substantial decrease in the consistent barking from the dogs having a limited range of movement and a buildup of energy being tethered. Lastly, there will be fewer incidences of dog attacks. According to the Humane Society of the United States, chained dogs often become very defensive of their territory and protect their area to an extreme measure when that is all they know. A tethered dog is over five times more likely to attack children under the age of twelve, therefore this bill will also protect the health and welfare of our children. This is a bill that benefits all parties involved: neighbors, children, and most importantly, man’s best friend, the dog.



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