Step 1 – Gather a group of like-minded friends to advocate for the dogs.
Step 2 – Go to your city, township, or village web site to find out when their meetings are.
Step 3 – Call your city to confirm that there is a place for the public to speak during the meetings. Generally, they allot 2 or 3 minutes near the beginning of the meetings for anyone to get up and speak about her concerns.
Step 4 – Write down on an index card what you want to say during your two minutes. You might write, “Good afternoon, Mayor Smith and Akron City Council. I am (your name and address), a resident and voter in Akron. (State your feelings) I am very upset by the number of dogs that I see endlessly chained out back in out city, especially in weather extremes. (If you know of specific dogs that are always out, mention those animals.)”
“I would like you to consider passing a tethering ordinance in Akron. The ordinance is important not only for the humane treatment of the animals, but it also works to prevent dog bites. The CDC says that a chained dog is three times more likely to bite.”
“When I go home today, I will e-mail all of you the ordinances already in effect in Columbus and Cleveland. – What is our next step?”
Step 5 – Send a follow-up e-mail. You might write –
Dear Mayor Smith and Akron City Council,
I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about Akron passing a tethering ordinance.
Tethering ordinances are good for our animals and good for our communities. Endless tethering is not just inhumane, but it is also impacts public safety / health, urban blight, and quality of life issues.
There are three main, common sense components to many ordinances:
1. 10 PM to 6 AM is largely standard across the nation. It gets the dogs inside during the coldest time of the night in winter. It cuts down on the nuisance whining, barking, and howling from frustrated dogs. This fits nicely with barking ordinances.
2. Leaving a dog tied outside when no one is home is dangerous both to the tethered dog, who may be a victim to a mean-spirited neighbor, to curious children, to an attack by another dog or another animal.
3. The weather advisory and temperature limits are common sense, humane treatment of animals. Dogs suffer physically and psychologically. Endless tethering of a dog out back, with no social interaction, with no relief from extreme weather is unconscionable.
Enforcement is complaint driven. The officers will not go out looking for violations. Their focus is on education of the proper care of animals and citation for those individuals who refuse to comply.
Finally, I am linking the Columbus and Cleveland ordinances for your review.
I look forward to hearing from you and to working with you on this important tethering ordinance.
Step 6 – Do not worry. The hard part is over for you. Your mayor and council do not expect you to be an animal law attorney. So, they will not try to pin you down on the details. This is their job. They know exactly what to do to move the ordinance forward.
This may take a long time. So, settle in for the duration. Stay in touch with the members who seem supportive.
Thank you each for stepping out of your comfort zone to help the poor, outside dogs in Ohio!