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!
Is it legal in your community to abandon dogs to the backyard in both plummeting, winter temperatures and sweltering, summer heat?
Why not step up to see a tethering ordinance passed in your city?
Two, huge paws up!
Two, huge paws up to the many, proactive, Ohio communities that have already passed common sense legislation! Tethering ordinances exist in more than thirty-six, Ohio jurisdictions and more than twenty states.
Most of the Ohio ordinances are based on the Cleveland ordinance, linked here.
Three jurisdictions in Hamilton County, where I live, have tethering laws. The Cincinnati, tethering ordinance is enforced by the Cincinnati Police Department.
Columbia and Anderson Townships both have tethering resolutions, enforced by the Hamilton County Sheriff.
IMPORTANT – The SPCA Cincinnati does not enforce the tethering laws. SPCA enforces state law. There is no mention of “tethering” in Ohio law. So, do not call the SPCA about a chained or tethered dog.
Common, tethering ordinances do not allow the animal to be tied outside in extreme weather, between 10 PM – 6 AM, and when the owner is not home.
Please note that Ohio counties cannot pass a tethering ordinance. Each jurisdiction within the county must pass the ordinance on its own.
Promoting Public Safety
Tethering ordinances are good for both our animals and our communities. They are common sense requirements for the endlessly tethered dogs, who lead lives of frustration, loneliness, and boredom. Tying the animals without relief encourages the dogs to be defensive of their small territory.
The ordinances also promote safeguards for people, particularly children, who may wander into the dog’s area and encounter a dog poised to defend his small space. CDC reports that a tethered dog is 3 times more likely to bite. Children under 12 are 5 times more likely to be bitten by a dog.
Animal cruelty is powerfully connected to interpersonal violence and some, untreated, mental illness. The animal abuse and extreme neglect can be a red flag that others in the area (children, elders, partners) are also in danger.
Contributing to Quality of Life
Tethered dogs are often the source of community nuisance. They bark, howl, and whine continuously in their neighborhoods. Needless tension and ongoing conflicts arise among neighbors over those annoying cries at all hours.
Yards and city lots with scruffy dogs tied to a stake, that often use old, worn out cars or rusted barrels as their shelter, are unsightly. They add to urban blight.
Encouraging Humane Treatment of Animals
Dogs suffer physically and psychologically. Endlessly tethering a dog out back, with no social interaction, with no relief from habitual pacing in a small area, with no protection from extreme weather – is unconscionable.
Dogs on tethers can be injured or killed. They get tangled around a tree, a pole, or a bush. They can hang themselves on a fence. Their collars can become too tight or embedded in their necks.
Our laws should reflect our community values. Cincinnati, where I live, is a place where people care about their next-door neighbors – human and canine – and their fifty-two neighborhoods. They want to live in healthy, vibrant, and top-notch communities, where families and their animals are safe, respected, and well-treated.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Copy the Cleveland and Columbus ordinances, linked above. Read and share them with friends, who will go with you to talk to your mayor or trustee.
Call you mayor or trustee to make an appointment to talk to him about how a tethering ordinance can be passed where YOU live.
E-mail him links to the Cleveland and Columbus ordinances so he will have sample legislation to work from.
Don’t be nervous about talking to your mayor. He will not expect you to be an animal law attorney. He knows just what to do to get such an ordinance passed. Once he agrees that a tethering ordinance is a good idea, he will carry it forward for you.
Need help? PM me, Beth Sheehan, or J.D. Cooke on FB.
Check out Jason’s FB page, Unchain Ohio, at the link.