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Put in Place an Anti-Tethering Ordinance for Animals in Davidson County

This petition had 3,018 supporters

There are hundreds of chained dogs suffering an isolated existence in yards all over Davidson County, TN. These dogs are chained 24/7 living in their own excrement. Their lack of socialization in conjunction with a lack of any outlet for their energy, can make these dogs aggressive which is a danger to our citizens. 1 in 4 dog bites are the result of a chained dog. Since Nashville is the capitol of TN, we need to be the example and set the standard for our state. Many states and local governments across the United States have successfully banned permanent tethering.

Although we appreciate everyone's support, WE ARE ONLY COLLECTING SIGNATURES FROM DAVIDSON COUNTY, TN RESIDENTS. Metro Council will only take these signatures into consideration.

Please read the following facts which outline why the citizens of Davidson County would like to see an Anti-Tethering Ordinance put in place.

Summary of Proposed Davidson County Ordinance Changes
Relating to Cruelty to Animals – Anti-Tethering

Revisions to current tethering ordinance would permit temporary tethering for outdoor enjoyment purposes of supervised animals only; however, permanent tethering or chaining would be prohibited. This item was brought forth by Davidson County residents either concerned for animal welfare or that have experienced nuisance barking animals disrupting their rights to peaceful enjoyment. Permanent tethering results in:

- Increase in nuisance complaints by residents for barking, animal cruelty and unsanitary conditions such as feces, excrement, foul odors, rodents and insects that pose public safety and health concerns.

-Increased field operations staff time responding to nuisance complaints and attendance at court hearings for citations issued due to permanently chained animals.
- Banning permanent tethering makes for safer neighborhoods and happier dogs all without adding burden to our animal control agency.
- The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports chained dogs are three times more likely to bite resulting in greater incidences of dog attacks and bites to humans and animals.
- Chained dogs are far more dangerous than free-running packs of dogs.
- The victims of chained dog attacks are usually children who stumble accidentally into a chained dog’s territory.
- Over 50 children annually are needlessly killed by chained animals.
- Dogs naturally feel protective of their territory. When confronted with a perceived threat, they respond according to their flight-or-fight instinct. Chained dogs that are unable to take flight often feel forced to fight.
- Chained animals are at more risk of being stolen and/or seriously injured or killed by another animal or person.
- Chained animals rarely receive sufficient care and attention and suffer from sporadic feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate veterinary care, exposure to the elements and little to no exercise. Chained animals spend their entire lives eating, sleeping, urinating and defecating in a single confined area. They are exposed to extreme weather such as bitter freezing snow, blazing hot summer sun and relentless rainstorms. They also suffer from flea and tick infestation, heartworm disease, bugs, rodents and a magnitude of other parasites.
- Dogs are by nature pack animals, social beings that thrive on interaction with people and other animals. A chained dog kept in one location for months or even years suffers immense psychological damage. A continuously chained dog usually becomes neurotic, anxious and aggressive.
- Chained animals can easily become entangled with other objects that could lead to neck injuries, choking and strangulation.
- The neck of a chained dog may become raw and infected from ill-fitting collars.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stated, “Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog’s movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog’s shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog’s movement and potentially causing injury.” In 1997 the USDA ruled that people and organizations regulated by the Animal Welfare Act cannot keep dogs continuously chained.
- The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) states “many communities have passed laws against long-term chaining of dogs. More people are learning that continuous tethering is bad for dogs. As pack animals, dogs have been bred for thousands of years to form a strong attachment to a human family. An otherwise friendly and happy dog, when kept continually chained and isolated, often becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious and aggressive. In fact, studies show that chained dogs are much more likely to bite than unchained dogs.”
- The American Humane Association (AHA) states “A sad, lonely, bewildered dog tied out back only suffers, and what sort of person wants to maintain suffering.”
- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has come out publicly against dog tethering. In a press release for Dog Bite Prevention Week the AVMA stated, “Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggressive behavior.”
- Professional Animal Behaviorist Victoria Stilwell stated, “Many common behavioral problems could be avoided if owners understood how severely confinement can compromise natural behavior. Fortunately, local governments are becoming aware of the potential problems that chaining can cause for dogs and humans, and many cities and counties are making tethering illegal.”
- Tammy Grimes, founder of “Mothers Against Dog Chaining”, commented that “children are dying because of the misguided belief in certain segments of our society that it is appropriate to chain a dog and leave it there to pace the same patch of dirt and excrement for years on end. When a chained dog attacked and killed a five-year old girl with Down Syndrome in Georgia in July 2007 that wandered into her neighbor’s yard the dog’s owner claimed that there was nothing they could have done unaware that the very method of confinement to which they subjected their dog led directly to the animal’s aggression and ultimately the death of a child”.
- Chained dogs are not effective guard dogs. Chained dogs are unable to stop intruders. All they can do is bark, usually incessantly and at objects other than intruders, creating a public nuisance for neighbors. Most chained dogs are un-socialized and unable to distinguish between a real threat to the family or a neighborhood child who wandered onto the property. The best guard dogs are those that live inside the home and are treated as part of the family which is how K9 police dogs are raised.”
- The biggest factor in dog aggression is the lack of socialization and lack of proper exercise that can be avoided with options such as bringing the dog inside the home, parameter fencing, electronic confinement system or regular walks with owners. All of these options are better than chaining.
- Many states and local government across the United States have banned permanent tethering to ensure a safe and compassionate society for people and pets: Fairhope, Alabama - Fayetteville, Arkansas - Jonesboro, Arkansas - Little Rock, Arkansas - Maumelle, Arkansas - Miami, Florida - Miami-Dade County, Florida - Okaloosa County, Florida - Athens-Clarke County, Georgia -
Chatham County, Georgia - DeKalb County, Georgia - Carthage, Missouri
Asheville, North Carolina - Chapel Hill, North Carolina - Clayton, North Carolina -
Cumberland County, North Carolina - Durham County, North Carolina -
New Hanover, North Carolina - Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina - Lawton, Oklahoma - Austin, Texas - Big Spring, Texas - Dallas, Texas - Electra, Texas -
Georgetown, Texas - Fort Worth, Texas - Irving, Texas
- Jurisdictions that have prohibited permanent tethering have experienced safer communities for both people and pets and significant reductions in animal cruelty cases, nuisance complaints and animal bites and attacks.

Options for Non-Permanent Tethering:
- Bring Your Pets Indoors
- Parameter Fencing
- Temporary supervised tethering for outdoor enjoyment purposes would be exempt from this section.
- Representatives of the non-profit organization, Dogs Deserve Better (DDB), will provide pet owners with education and options to resolve ordinance violations of permanent tethering of animals.

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