Spring Garden Township has become the third municipality in York County -- and in Pennsylvania -- to adopt an ordinance limiting the amount of time a dog can be continuously tethered outside.
It passed Wednesday night at the township commissioners' regular meeting and takes effect Monday, township solicitor Steven Hovis said. The vote was unanimous.
The York County SPCA, which proposed the ordinance, will exclusively enforce it, Hovis said. That means there will be no cost to the township.
Spring Garden Township Police Chief George Swartz said the new ordinance was the result of township officials being proactive.
Public support: "Several of the commissioners received phone calls from residents supporting this ordinance," he said.
"I'm hoping this will encourage other municipalities to give this ordinance a second look -- give it the consideration it deserves," said Melissa Smith, executive director of the York County SPCA. "It's imperative residents contact their municipalities and let them know they support this ordinance."
Continuously tethered dogs suffer a life of isolation and misery, and are twice as likely to bite humans, she said.
The ordinance, which was adopted in April by York Township and Mount Wolf, affects only dogs that live their entire lives outside, according to Smith, and will be enforced by the SPCA's humane police officer.
Requirements: Owners of "24-7 outside dogs" will now either have to build kennels or take their dogs inside regularly, she said. Violators will first receive a warning, then could be cited and fined, she said.
The ordinance also requires residents to bring in their outside dogs during severe weather conditions, whether that be a blizzard or a heat advisory, she said.
Mount Wolf and Spring Garden and York townships are the only three municipalities in Pennsylvania to restrict dog-tethering, Smith confirmed.
Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania director of the Humane Society of the United States, has said proposed tethering legislation in Pennsylvania has so far not gained traction in the state legislature.
Thirteen states either ban or restrict the tethering of dogs, according to the Animal Law Coalition.
The background: In early February, the York County SPCA sent out packets to every municipality in the county, asking them to consider adopting a tethering-restriction ordinance. Enclosed in each packet was a proposed ordinance crafted by the SPCA and the Humane Society of the United States.
Several municipalities are still considering it, according to Smith.
West York, Dallastown and Dover boroughs have voted down the proposed ordinance, as have West Manchester, Lower Windsor, Manheim and Dover townships.
-- Reach Elizabeth Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-5429 or twitter.com/ydcrimetime.