CLEVELAND, Ohio - Cleveland City Council members voted Monday night on an ordinance that said dog owners will now have to adhere to limitations on the amount of time their dogs can be tied up outside.
The amendments of this ordinance, sponsored by council members Matt Zone and Terrell Pruitt, are aimed at improving the quality of life for dogs and other animals, tethered in unsafe conditions.
According to Zone, the council is concerned for the safety and wellbeing of those who call Cleveland home, including pets. He said they had received numerous complaints to animal control from residents about excessive barking.
"Often when they would go there they'd see that the animals were improperly secured and tied up."
Zone said the animals were usually found on leashes that were too short, needed water, or were in harsh conditions and needed shelter.
Amendments to Cleveland's dog tethering ordinance outline that no person shall tether an animal in any of the following circumstances:
- For more than six hours in a 24 hour period and not more than 2 consecutive hours with no less than a one-hour period between tetherings
- Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- If a heat advisory has been issued by a local or state authority or the National Weather Service
- If a severe weather warning has been issued by a local or state authority or the National Weather Service
- If the tether is less than 20 feet in length
- If the tether allows the animals to touch the fence or cross the property line or cross onto public property
- If the tether is attached by means of a pinch-type, or choke type collar or if the collar is unsafe or is not properly fitted; If the tether may cause injury or entanglement
- 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.
"They bark for a reason and when they bark we as human we need to be responsive to that," said Zone. "What this ordinance does, is it creates real guidelines of what people can and cannot do."
Those who support the new rules, like dog lover Clifton Bunton, said this will help animals left outside in extreme weather.
"What goes on the outside, the atmosphere, they react to it. So when it's Fourth of July and it's storming like you said, it stresses them out completely. The dog will be crazy in the long run," he said.
Anyone found in violation of the ordinance for the first time will face a misdemeanor. A second offense means a fourth degree misdemeanor.
"On any subsequent third offense thereafter, it's a misdemeanor of the first degree, which is potentially a fine of $1,000 and six months in jail," explained Zone.
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