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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 10, 2015 04:18 PM
From: Representative David Parker
To: All House members
Subject: Cruelty To Animals-Dog Tethering
In the near future, I am planning to re-introduce legislation that was offered by Representative Mario Scavello (former HB41 of 2013-14 session). The legislation will amend the animal cruelty provisions of the Crimes Code by placing restrictions on the tethering of dogs.

More specifically, my legislation will add a section to the animal cruelty statute by making it a summary offense to tether a dog outside and unattended to any stationary object by the use of a restraint between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

This legislation is in response to repeated complaints that the continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog’s movement. A tether can also become tangled further restricting the dog’s movement and potentially causing injury. Continuous tethering leaves dogs isolated, bored and anxious, all of which can lead to aggression toward anyone that enters their confined space. There have been many documented cases where unsuspecting children have been badly injured or killed after wandering into the territory of a tethered dog.

While the legislation prohibits tethering during certain hours, persons will be able to use such restraints during the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., however, they can be convicted of a summary offense if they fail to attach the tether in such manner as to avoid entanglement which restricts motion; attach the tether to a choke, pinch, prong or other chain; attach a tether which is less than six feet long or at least five times the length of the dog and which does not allow convenient access to shelter, food and water; the dog tethered has open sores or wounds on its body; the dog is tethered outside during periods of temperature below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or when a weather advisory or warning has been issued by the National Weather Service.

The legislation contains certain exceptions which permit tethering a dog while training for hunting or farming activities, while shepherding or herding livestock, while pursuing activities at a recreational facility, while attending an organized dog event, or if the dog is raised and trained for sled dog racing. A dog may also be tethered outside during the normally restricted time frame for a period not to exceed 15 minutes.

Having recognized continuous tethering is inhumane and poses a public safety risk, nineteen states as well as hundreds of communities across the U.S. have already passed laws addressing this issue.

Former HB 41 Cosponsors: O’Brien, B. Boyle, D. Costa, Rozzi, Fabrizio, Hennessey, Neilson, Schlossberg, Watson, Cohen, Stephens, W. Keller, Davis, Donatucci, Bizzarro, Ravenstahl, K. Boyle, Carroll, Frankel, R. Brown, O’Neill, Kortz, Santarsiero, Murt, Ross, Readshaw, Moul, Caltagirone, Matzie, Goodman, Farry, Sainato, Barbin, Conklin, Gillespie, Killion, Swanger, Grell, Deasy, Micozzie, Adolph, Dean, Painter, Briggs, Haggerty, Snyder, Sonney, Molchany, Gingrich, Hackett, McNeill, Sabatina, Farina, and Vereb

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Introduced as HB481