Hillsborough County govt. asking for citizen input on anti-tethering measure that they dub "controversial"

Upon reading of the policy, LaPresti wasn't impressed.  Wednesday night she told CL that:

1.  The meat and potatoes of the ordinance states ... "No person shall tether with the intent of the tethering to be the animal's primary means of permanent containment".  My interpretation of "primary" could be a dog tied up for 8 hours while another persons idea of primary confinement could be 20 hours a day.  This language is so vague that the officer will never be able to enforce it.

2.  Several members of the Board agreed that it is ok to use any type of chain as a means of a tether. Carrying around a heavy chain 20 hours a day is very heavy.

3.  The ordinance states the dog is not to be tied up outside during a period of "extreme weather" but again the definition of extreme weather is left for interpretation by the Animal Control Officer.

Feel free to contact Hillsborough County to weigh in on your opinion on the issue.  You can do by clicking here.

CL readers may recall that we published a story last summer on Hillsborough County resident Barbara LaPresti's mission to get the county to pass an anti-tethering ordinance for dogs in the county.  LaPresti (and many others) considers tethering inhumane, and she was just initiating a petition drive to compel the county to create such an ordinance.

Since then, other mainstream media organs such as Fox-13 and the St. Pete Times have also picked up the story, and on the measure that has been adopted by numerous cities and counties in Florida, and indeed across the nation, in recent years.

Cynthia Smoot's piece on Fox began "They've done it in Seminole, Sarasota and Gulfport. Even Pinellas County has put restrictions on it."

Yes indeed, as has Miami-Dade and other locales.  But for various reasons, Hillsborough County's Animal Services Advisory Committee, which is where a recommendation would go first before heading off to the county, has somehow been resistant to LaPresti's advocacy.

However they have opted to at least now survey the public about such an ordinance.  A press release issued Wednesday afternoon reads as follow:

Hillsborough County Animal Services wants to know what citizens think about a proposed new measure aimed at increasing responsible and humane confinement of dogs.

The sometimes controversial issue has often been referred to as the "anti-tethering movement."   It has attracted a variety of strong opinions, and Animal Services is letting the public weigh-in online about a possible new law.

Several weeks ago,  Hillsborough County’s  all-citizen Animal Advisory Committee was tasked to evaluate a variety of options on ways to confine dogs through tethering.   A special sub-committee was formed, and now, Hillsborough County Animal Services is debuting the first version of proposed ordinance language.

Comments may be submitted via Hillsborough County's web site at http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/animalservices/tethering/.  The online form is expected to remain posted through January 16th so that suggestions may be taken under review.

For more information, contact Hillsborough County Animal Services at (813) 744-5660 or log onto www.hillsboroughcounty.org/animalservices .

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