Regulation Takes On Excessive Chaining
by Kevin Duggan
The Larimer County commissioners on Monday unanimously approved changes to the county’s animal control ordinance, including a prohibition on chaining a dog for an extended length of time.
The regulation on tethering an animal is not intended to ban chaining dogs, said Capt. Bill Porter, director of animal control with the Larimer Humane Society.
The idea is to promote responsible pet ownership and keep dogs from being chained and confined to a limited area for “weeks, months, years,” Porter told the commissioners.
Tethered dogs are more likely to bite than dogs that are at large, he said.
“This is for the benefit of the community and the welfare of the animal as well,” Porter said.
The ordinance applies to portions of the county outside city limits.
Porter cited cases from his experience as an animal control officer in which excessive chaining has led to problems. He recalled a dog that hanged itself after leaping a fence while tethered and a young girl who was severely injured when she walked too close to a chained dog.
The tethering regulation includes a requirement that a chain be at least 10 feet long and that the dog have access to food, water and shelter and cannot get entangled.
The ordinance leaves deciding the length of time a dog may be chained to the discretion of an animal-control officer based on conditions.
Dr. Brenda McClelland, a veterinarian with Pet Wellness Clinic, 4848 S. College Ave., said tethering for too long contributes to aggressive behavior in dogs toward people and other animals.
Excessive chaining also can lead to nuisance barking, she said.
Commissioner Steve Johnson said the county has a responsibility to protect the health and safety of its citizens.
“I think we also have a responsibility to prevent animal cruelty in our jurisdiction,” he said.
The ordinance is not designed to “tell people how to raise their pets,” he said.
“It’s meant to prevent serious problems,” he said.
The amendments also change the definition of a pet animal to make it consistent with the county’s land-use code and update the “animal disturbance” section of the law to incorporate the standards in the county noise ordinance.
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