Trust yourself. You can effect meaningful change in your city for outside dogs. With one phone call you can set a plan in motion to curb cruelty, neglect, and tethering where you live.
There are no Ohio, state laws in place right now to humanely address outside dogs, living in desperation and pain year round on chains and tethers. Many concerned people across Ohio are endlessly calling their local dog wardens, their police, and their sheriffs without success. State law simply requires “adequate” food, water, and shelter. “Adequate” generally keeps many dogs outside, in distress, subject to frostbite and hypothermia in winter, heatstroke in summer and a slow, frightening death, alone in their own backyards.
You can change this nasty situation where you live. Here’s a positive, doable plan for you to help outside dogs in your community.
First, organize a dedicated, small group of your friends to advocate for a new, animal ordinance where you live. Meet in a local coffee shop to share ideas and to review the Cleveland animal ordinance, a working model you can use.
Two excellent, common sense points in the Cleveland ordinance are that the dog cannot be tied outside if no one is home, nor can he be outside during a weather advisory.
Second, select a local council member to work with you. This person is crucial to the success of your ordinance. He will be doing most of the work to advance the ordinance. If he is “wishy-washy” about animals, your ordinance will not be successful.
Call your city hall today. Ask for an appointment to meet with the council member regarding improving your local, animal ordinance. Take Cleveland’s ordinance with you as a starting point.
If you feel you cannot organize and meet with your local city council, then share this blog with friends, who might be able to take that initiative for outside dogs.
Please join us today in making “backyard dogs” a footnote for Ohio, history books.
(Find Cleveland’s ordinance here. Cruelty to animals, shelter, tethering, weather are found at 603.09)
603.09 Cruelty to Animals
(a) No person shall:
(1) Torture an animal, deprive one of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, needlessly mutilate or kill, or impound or confine an animal without supplying it during confinement with a sufficient quantity of good wholesome food and water.
(2) Impound or confine an animal without affording it, during such confinement, access to shelter from heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or excessive direct sunlight if it can reasonably be expected that the animal would otherwise become sick or in some other way suffer. This division (a)(2) does not apply to animals impounded or confined prior to slaughter. For the purpose of this section, “shelter” means a man-made enclosure, windbreak, sunshade, or natural earth’s contour, tree development or vegetation and must provide for the safety and health of the animal in accordance with good animal husbandry standards for each specific animal.
(3) Carry or convey an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner.
(4) Keep animals without wholesome exercise and change of air, nor feed cows on food that produces impure or unwholesome milk.
(5) Detain livestock in railroad cars or compartments longer than twenty-eight (28) hours after they are so placed without supplying them with necessary food, water, and attention, nor permit such stock to be so crowded as to overlie, crush, wound, or kill each other.
(b) All fines collected for violations of this section shall be paid to the society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals, if there is one in the county, township, or municipal corporation where the violation occurred.
(c) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. In addition, the court may order the offender to forfeit the animal or livestock and may provide for its disposition including, but not limited to, the sale of the animal or livestock. If an animal or livestock is forfeited and sold under this division, the proceeds from the sale first shall be applied to pay the expenses incurred with regard to the care of the animal from the time it was taken from the custody of the former owner. The balance of the proceeds from the sale, if any, shall be paid to the former owner of the animal.
(Ord. No. 1572-14. Passed 12-8-14, eff. 12-10-14)
603.091 Neglect of Animals
(a) No owner or keeper of a dog, cat, or other domestic animal shall cause any condition that may lead to permanent injury, death, or harm to such animal, including confining an animal in a motor vehicle under any conditions that may endanger the well being of the domestic animal.
(b) No person shall keep any animal in a place that is unsanitary, including any place where there is an accumulation of feces or other waste, or foul odor, or insect or rodent infestation.
(c) No person who owns or keeps an animal shall fail to provide the animal all of the following needs:
(1) Clean, potable drinking water at all times, and suitable food, of sufficient quality and quantity as to ensure normal growth and the maintenance of normal body weight;
(2) Food and water receptacles that are kept clean and disinfected, and located so as to avoid contamination by feces or other wastes;
(3) Regular exercise sufficient to maintain the animal’s good health;
(4) Necessary veterinary care;
(5) Shelter from the elements, including heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or excessive direct sunlight. If the animal is housed outside, a structure for shelter and protection must be provided that is suitable for the species, age, condition, size, and type of that animal. The structure must be completely enclosed and insulated, having a single entrance/exit secured with a flap or door or similar device. The structure shall be moisture-resistant, wind-resistant, and of suitable size and type to allow the animal to stand, turn about freely, lie in a normal position, and regulate proper body temperature. The structure shall be made of a durable material with a solid, moisture-proof floor and a floor raised at least two (2) inches from the ground. Suitable drainage shall be provided so that water cannot be reasonably expected to gather and stand within ten (10) feet of the structure, and so the animal has access to a dry area at all times. Proper bedding of straw or similar material, that remains dry, must be utilized inside the structure. All structures required by this section shall be subject to all building and zoning regulations.
(d) No person who shelters an animal from the elements by means of an animal shelter, a cage, or a pen shall fail to conform it to the following requirements:
(1) The shelter, cage or pen shall be appropriate to the animal’s size, weight, and other characteristics, with sufficient space to allow the animal to turn about freely and lie in a normal position;
(2) The shelter, case or pen shall provide sufficient shade to allow the animal to escape the direct rays of the sun at all times;
(3) The shelter, cage or pen shall be regularly cleaned and sanitized.
(e) Whoever violates this section is guilty of neglect of animals, a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(Ord. No. 1572-14. Passed 12-8-14, eff. 12-10-14)
603.092 Tethering Animals
(a) No person shall tether an animal in any of the following circumstances:
(1) For more than six (6) hours total in a twenty-four (24) hour period and not more than two (2) consecutive hours with no less than a one (1) hour period between tetherings;
(2) Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.;
(3) If a heat or cold advisory has been issued by a local or state authority or the National Weather Service;
(4) If a severe weather warning has been issued by a local or state authority or the National Weather Service;
(5) If the tether is less than twenty (20) feet in length;
(6) If the tether allows the animal to touch the fence or cross the property line or cross onto public property;
(7) If the tether is attached by means of a pinch-type, prong-type, or choke-type collar or if the collar is unsafe or is not properly fitted;
(8) If the tether may cause injury or entanglement;
(9) If the animal is not provided with its needs as identified in division (b) of Section 603.091;
(10) If the tether is made of a material that is unsuitable for the animal’s size and weight or that causes any unnecessary discomfort to the animal;
(11) If no owner or occupant is present at the premises.
(b) As used in this section, “tether” means a rope, chain, cord, dog run or pulley, or similar restraint for holding an animal in place, allowing a radius in which it can move about.
(c) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor on the first offense, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on the second offense, and a misdemeanor of the first degree on the third or any subsequent offense. Notwithstanding the foregoing penalties, if an animal becomes sick or injured as a result of a violation of this section, then whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(Ord. No. 12-12. Passed 5-21-12, eff. 5-25-12)
Questions? PM Beth Sheehan