Washington State considering anti-tethering law

The terrible death of a dog on the end of a tether is the impetus for a proposed state-wide anti-tethering law in Washington.

A Seattle Weekly blog post on the story includes a graphic photo taken by a neighbor, showing the dog hanging over a fence, hung by the chain around its neck.

Senate Bill SB-5649 would make it illegal to tether a dog for an extended period of time.

Anti-tethering ordinances are cropping up in a growing (but too slowly) number of communities across the country. In many cases, tethering is limited to a certain time period over any 24-hour time frame.


11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Eric on February 14, 2011 at 12:09 am

    That is just horrible! Another example of a family that didn’t deserve the privilege of having a pet. I hope they face criminal charges.


  2. “Pack Mentality” is right… this anti-tethering ordinance is a classic example of people not stopping to think things through. As a retired animal control officer I can assure you that present laws provide for dogs which can’t reach housing, water, etc. All this law does is allow people who don’t know a thing about working type animals to micro manage those who do. These folks could care less about the animal’s comfort… they just don’t like the fact that they consider “tethering” cruel. If they DID care about the dog’s comfort, they would not be working toward getting all these dogs put in shipping crates all day long – a MUCH worse fate than approriate tethering. When tethering is banned, the dogs are then stuck in shipping crates (which, by the way, are NOT appropriate housing and do not conserve body heat) in some unheated garage out of sight… way to go guys! THis whole “anti-tethering” movement is just another example of young, idealistic folks trying to tell everyone to treat their dogs like they treat their labradoodle… whether the dog is better for it or not.


    • Posted by Tom Grady on February 17, 2011 at 11:28 pm

      Let’s not allow tethering or forcing dogs to live “shipping crates.”
      Forcing a dog to live its life on the end of a chain is cruel and causes emotional suffering.
      Thankfully, the local animal control office in my hometown was one of the first in the nation to lead an effort to get a county-wide anti-tethering ordinance voted in.
      What we need is better education in the area of understanding of animal cognition and self-awareness, to better understand why tethering and caging are cruel for animals.


  3. Posted by Melanie on February 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    This is ridiculous. What it will cause if such an insanely stupid law passes is a huge influx of dogs into shelters, or worse just being thrown out into the country somewhere by their owner who has no way of keeping their pet safe without a chain. Those of you who say chaining a dog is cruel, really, do you even think with your brain. Not everyone can construct a fence capable of containing their dogs. Would you rather see a dog roaming free and getting hit by a car because it dug out of its fence while its owner was at work. No mater what you do, some dogs just are not containable with a fence. I have owned northern breeds for the last 16 years. The two i have now, one is a malamute mix and one is a husky mix, would be dead in the road if they were not on chains. Granted, I agree a dog should not be on some little 10 ft tie out or something of the wort. We have a 75 foot trolley for each dog and a 15 ft lead is attached to that. So they roam a pretty good sized area, they have nothing to jump over or off of that they could hang themselves on. They have an insulated shelter outside that I keep fresh hay in for them for warmth. The malamute hates the hay, and he shoves it all out on the ground. If it is raining and they don’t want to play in the yard I sit in their house with them giving them attention and treats. I try to bring them in the house with me in the evening, but they hate it – they want out in about an hour if even that. When we had that really cold weather here and it was getting down to under 20 degrees I was outside every hour checking on them. The first time I felt the husky mix shiver a little bit i brought them in the house. I got very little sleep because they wanted out, but that didn’t matter to me all I cared about was their safety. We frequently take them for walks to the lakes or in the mountains. They are not unahppy, they are not being caused emotional distress. People need to wake up and think a little bit. Some dogs are made to live outdoors, some are not. There is a humane way to secure your dog in your yard using a chain and there is a cruel way to do it. If this law passes I will have no choice but to give my dogs up. The only option would be an outside kennel, which would be a huge challenge to keep them in. And a little piece of interesting info for all you who think you know best, if I were to put them in an outdoor kennel and find a way to keep them from getting out of it, they would have a smaller area to roam than they have now on their trolleys. so lets get real and worry about the real cruelties to animals, lets focus on making sure they have a home where they are cared for instead of trying to make everything conform to your way of thinking with your nice little lap dog in your house. My pets are part of my family. They get Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, lots of love, and lots of attention. Anyone who has ever known me has always known ho loved my pets are. So all this law will accomplish is to cause some well loved family animals to lose their homes and end up being killed in a shelter.


    • Posted by Tom Grady on February 19, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Actually, most anti-tethering ordinances include a time limit on tethering in any 24-hour period.
      So the dogs can be inside the home as part of the family, with tethering outside for set time periods. This is not at all unreasonable.
      What anti-tethering ordinances and laws are designed to do is prohibit the constant restraint of dogs, where they live their lives on the end of a chain.


      • Posted by Melanie on February 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm

        If you read the bill in the Washington Senate, it says they cannot be tethered more than 10 hours or between the hours of 10am and 6 pm (I could be off an hour either way on that, I just know it covered the overnight hours).

        I leave my house at 3:45 am to catch the first of two buses to get to work, I get home at 4:30 pm – this puts me over the 10 hour rule and doesn’t quite work out with the 6 am time

        My dogs would never be happy sleeping in the house, this puts me outside of the rule regarding the overnight hours.

        This law as it is written would cause more problems than benefits. If they want to say a dog cannot be tethered 24 hours a day, great – I am all for that. But people should be able to decide what works with their schedule, having other people decide what hours I can and cannot tether my dog is idiotic at best.

      • Posted by rebecca on May 9, 2011 at 12:26 am

        “my dogs would never be happy sleeping in the house”, are you kidding?? how many dogs would “rather” be chained outside 11hrs a day with minimal room to walk around. How about having someone let your animals out for a little while while you are at work? whats that??? too difficult??? yea, thats usually the lazy response of irresponsible dog owners that make thier dogs live on a chain. If you had any compassion for animals at all you wouldnt even have dogs since you cannot provide adequate housing for them. Since you do and dont have much common sense, Im sure some loose dog will end up hurting your dogs and you wont care less. Cudos

  4. Posted by Melanie on February 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Sorry, my times in my previous post should have been 10pm to 6 am.


  5. Posted by Net on March 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm



  6. Posted by rebecca on May 9, 2011 at 12:18 am

    I had to spend the whole winter watching two neighborhood dogs tethered to a rope that didnt reach further than 10 ft. They had dog houses that the owner kept out of reach, so the humane society was not able to rescue these dogs. I watched helplessly as these dogs would be covered in snow in well below freezing temps. I wrote and pleaded to the owners to let me have them for the winter, they refused. Owner like this that make animals live thier lives on the end of a rope should be jailed and fined. There is a time limit on how long a dog can be on a tether. So to the poster that has no clue Melanie. Please check out the info before making rediculous comments. or look up “time limit”. I cant believe you think its ok to leave an animal to live thier life on the end of a rope or chain. Melanie you are disgusting!! As for the law, Im gonna do what i can to help pass this much needed law.


  7. Posted by Melanie on May 9, 2011 at 10:30 am

    In reply to rebecca
    Your post shows your small mindedness and lack of intelligence.

    If you had read my post, you would see that my dogs do not live their life on a chain. They are secured on a chain while nobody is home and while we sleep at night. I find it ridiculous that you would presume to know what someone elses dogs would prefer. Every time I bring them in the Malamute/wolf mix is pacing and whining because he cannot stand being indoors. He wants to be outside laying in the grass, or his hole he dug in the dirt, or in his shelter. He hates being indoors. You have also shown you did not read my post because you seem to be unaware of the fact that each of them has their own 75 ft trolley with a 15ft lead – in case you are mathematically challenged that is considerably more space than having an outdoor kennel for them.

    They are not suited for constant indoor living – many northern breeds are not. What is good for one dog is not good for another. You demonstrate your inability to use logic when you blather on and on about something you clearly know nothing about.

    An irresponsible dog owner is one who is trying to force a dog to live in a way that puts their safety at risk or makes them miserable. If I tried to force them to live indoors they would be miserable, and no doubt would take that misery out by detroying anything they could get in the house. I did not raise them from when they were puppies – they were 4 and 6 yrs when I got them – and living outside is what they were raised to do. the last malamute I had I raised from when he was a puppy, so he was raised differnt. He lived in the house, and went outside when he wanted to. I know what my dogs want to do from the way they act, you have no clue what they want to do or what makes them happy. They are provided a safe home, where they get to be outside, and they have at least quadruple the space to roam as most dogs I see living in an outdoor kennel. They always have fresh water, they are fed twice a day, they are given treats every day, they have shelter to go into if they want to be out of the elements, they have toys to play with, they come in the house every evening when I get home from work and stay in with me until I go to bed or they decide they want back out (and they usually want back out before I go to bed), they are taken in the truck to a park or lake several times a week (more when schedules permit) where they are walked around and played with for anywhere from 1-6 hours depending on the weather and schedule for the day, when we can’t go to a park I take them in our back yard and run around and play with them, they go to the groomers to be bathed, they are brushed at home when they are in the house – but you’re right I am a lazy dog owner.

    If you can manage a logical thought for a minute, try to remember that what works for one does not work for another. Just because you have a neighbor who chains their dog on a 10 ft chain and ignores them does not mean every dog you see on a chain is abused and neglected. Just because one owner keeps dog houses but keeps them out of reach of their dogs does not mean every one does that. Chain does not equal neglect, just like dog living in house does not equal a dog that is well cared for and well loved. It depends on the pet owner and how they interact with their dog.

    Try focusing your energy on actually helping animals. Do you volunteer with a rescue group? Do you volunteer to foster animals to save them from being euthanized in a shelter? Do you make donations, either monetary or time, to help animals? And most importantly, to truly help animals, you have to be willing to accept that you don’t know everything and your way is not necessarily the right way to do things. If you took every dog that you feel is not cared for properly away from their owners and put them in a shelter thousands would be killed – in your mind is that a better solution than accepting that there are many different ways to keep a dog healthy and happy and that you might not be miss know it all?


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