Brown County lawmakers could soon begin debate on an ordinance regulating how long dogs may be chained up outdoors.
The new proposal suggests dogs should only be chained outside for up to 12 hours, and that animals shouldn’t be outside between 10pm and 4am unless the owner is at work during those times.
Brown County Animal Control Commissioner Greg Bennett said one of the benefits is public safety. “There’s a lot of info out there that says that any dog that’s chained may become more aggressive and may be 3 times as likely to bite. Second is the safety of the animal. A lot of animals that are chained end up hanging themselves on fencing, trees, whatever. And then number 3 is just the social well being of the animal itself.”
An organization called Serving Pets Outreach Team, or SPOT, offers an alternative to chaining for owners. The groups helps educate pet owners and assists those in financial need to build inexpensive fencing.
Ordinances already on the books require owners to provide shelter and food for dogs left outside.
Officials say chained dogs are statistically more aggressive towards others, but are also a danger to themselves. Because of this, the final ordinance will include rules on the type and length of chain that must be used.
Animal control officer Tony West said the proposal will be enforced, despite his department’s small staff.
“The biggest part will still be that we cover all of Brown County and there is usually only one officer working at a time, and since we cover such a large area we really rely on the public to let us know,” said West.
The proposal suggests a tiered system of fines depending on the number of offenses, and whether the dog is spayed or neutered.