West York expected to pass dog tethering ordinance

The York County SPCA is working hard to ban 24/7 dog tethering throughout the county. So far out of 72 municipalities, six have adopted a dog tethering ordinance drafted by the SPCA.”We were the first county to pass the ordinance and we certainly are leading the pack,” said Melissa Smith with the York County SPCA.

West York could be next to adopt the ordinance. “There’s dogs that are tied out continuously that neighbors have problems with. They are barking and they can become aggressive,” said West York Animal Enforcement Officer Shelley Metzler.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Smith. “Dogs are companion animals, they mostly want to be with us. It can cause a lot of other problems too. Certainly a dog that is chained outside it can lead to aggression problems, fear biting, and the dog really has no protection from predators,” said Smith.

Under the ordinance people are prohibited from tethering their dogs outside 24/7. Owners of dogs that are kept outside would either have to build kennels or fences, or take their dogs inside. There are also weather provisions for any dog that is living outdoors.

“This ordinance would not only talk about tethering, but it would also talk about a dog outside in a kennel if there were severe weather conditions such as a weather advisory, or temperatures as well. If the temperatures would drop below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees consistently then the dog would have to be taken inside,” said Smith. “In a situation where we had last week with the dangerous temperatures, that is a time where we would make immediately the dog come inside,” said Smith.

Enforcement:
The SPCA would enforce the law. “If they [the municipality] want to do the enforcement themselves, certainly that’s their option, but we wanted to offer the enforcement for a couple of reasons. We certainly recognize this isn’t something the police department would have time to spend doing, and also we are at a lot of these place anyway. Our humane officers are already there on an investigation,” said Smith.

“We aren’t going to be traveling around looking for these situations. We really need the community to be our eyes and ears,” said Smith.

Penalty:
The penalty would be a $500 fine.  “It would be a summary offense and the dog would be removed temporarily until the situation is resolved,” said Smith. “But that’s certainly not our first step and most times not even our second step.”

West York is scheduled to vote on the measure on Monday January 20.

For more information on the York County SPCA click here