The law, known as The “Safe Outdoor Dogs Act”, which goes into effect Jan 18, 2022, will prohibit owners from using chains for tethering outside dogs, as well as requiring owners to provide necessities such as shade, shelter and water.
By: Renee Marler / OurCelina
The law, known as The “Safe Outdoor Dogs Act”, will prohibit owners from using chains for tethering outside dogs, as well as requiring owners to provide necessities such as shade, shelter and water.
The new law will further restrict pet owners from chaining their dogs. A previous law was on the books, but now the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act makes the punishment clearer.
Please note: Tethering or restraining a dog in and of itself is not illegal, as long as it is in a humane way.
According to the law, whether the animal is tethered to a fixed point or on a pulley:
- The tether must be attached to properly fitted collar. Pinch, prong, or choke type collars cannot be used.
- Tether cannot be wrapped directly around the dog’s neck.
- The dog cannot be restrained with a chain or a restraint with weights attached.
- The tether is required to be either 10 feet or five times the length of the animal (from nose to tip of tail), whichever is longer.
- A restrained animal must have access to adequate shelter, with enough room to allow them to sit, stand and move around comfortably.
- Dogs must have shelter from “inclement weather”, which includes rain, hail, snow, high winds, extreme low temperatures, or extreme high temperatures.
- They must be provided an area with shade, drinkable water, and the ability to avoid standing water and excessive animal waste.
An owner may NOT leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint:
- Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
- The outdoor temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
- A heat advisory has been issued by state or local authorities.
- A hurricane, tropical storm or tornado warning has been issued for the area by the National Weather Service.
- Upon first violation, offenders will face a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.
- If an owner violates the law a second time, the offense will rise to a Class B misdemeanor, which could result in up to 180 days in county jail, a $2000 fine, or both.
- If outdoor dogs are tethered alone in inclement weather without proper food and water access, law enforcement will be able to take the dog away from the owner.