Animal tethering ban gets approval

by ANDY SEVILLA

A years-long debate came to an end last week when the Kyle City Council adopted an animal ordinance that mirrors the state’s restrictions on chaining a dog.

Proponents of the dog-tethering ban argue against alleged animal cruelty brought on by chaining canines, while those against the ban say government is overstepping its bounds.

Chapter 821 of the Texas Health and Safety Code states that an owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog’s movement for more than three hours in a 24-hour period, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., within 500 feet of a school or in the case of extreme weather.

That language gained approval by a majority of council members, though Mayor Lucy Johnson, who voted against the legislation, said the law does not go far enough.

Johnson said she would only support legislation that outlawed the tethering of animals altogether, while all other council members green lighted the implementation of state rules. Council Member Brad Pickett was absent from the meeting.

According to state rules, a restraint unreasonably limits a dog’s movement if the restraint uses a collar that is pinch-type, prong-type, or choke-type or that is not properly fitted to the dog. The law also prohibits using chains whose length is shorter than the greater of – 10 feet or five times the length of the dog – is in an unsafe condition or causes injury to the dog.

A pet owner will not be in violation of the law if a dog is restrained to a running line, pulley, or trolley system, and that the dog is not restrained to those tethers by means of a pinch-type, prong-type, choke-type, or improperly fitted collars. An owner, too, will be in compliance of the law when walking their dog on a handheld leash.

Pet owners will also be excused from the rules when a dog is restrained in compliance with the requirements of a camping or recreational area, or when a dog is restrained while the owner is engaged in or actively training for an activity conducted for a valid state license where the use or presence of a dog is necessary. Owners can also restrain dogs while they are engaged in conduct directly related to the business of shepherding or herding cattle or livestock, or while cultivating agricultural products and the dog’s restraint is necessary for its safety.

Violations of this law can cost pet owners up to $500.

The city’s ordinance also raised the liability insurance requirement of $100,000 for registered dangerous dogs to $250,000, it also states the dog must be microchipped and it updated the requirements for its proper enclosure.

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