Officials tout new dog-tethering regulations

John A. Pavoncello
York Dispatch

Local state lawmakers and Humane Society representatives outlined new dog-tethering requirements that are part of Libre's Law, the animal protection bill inspired by a Boston terrier saved from severe neglect at an Amish dog-breeding farm in Lancaster County.  

Sen. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, joined State Representatives Dawn Keefer, R-Franklin Township, and Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery County, at the Helen Krause Animal Foundation near Dillsburg to highlight the law that sets standards on when, how and how long a dog may be tethered outside. 

Cockapoo Ollie Markle sniffs the bushes as state lawmakers and Humane Society representatives present the new law concerning tethering of pets, Wednesday, July 19, 2017.  John A. Pavoncello photo

The new legislation puts limits on how long a dog can be tethered outside, taking into consideration extreme weather. It allows law enforcement the means to charge owners with neglect if the regulations are not met.

Under the legislation, a dog may be tethered unattended for less than 9 hours during a 24-hour period when all of the following conditions are met: 

► The tether is at least three times the length of the dog as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail or 10 feet, whichever is longer.

► The tether is secured to a well-fitted collar or harness by means of a swivel anchor, swivel latch or other mechanism designed to prevent the dog from becoming entangled.

►   The  dog has access to drinkable water and an area of shade that permits it to escape direct sunlight.

►   The dog has not been tethered for longer than 30 minutes in temperatures above 90 or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

 The presence of any of the following when a dog is tethered outside could be considered for a case of neglect: 

►   Excessive waste or excrement in the area where the dog is tethered.

►  Open sores or wounds on the dog's body.

►   The use of a tow or log chain, or a choke, pinch, prong or chain collar.

"These bills are such common sense, when you think about Libre's Law that just passed, the fact that it took as long as it did ... it's just sad, and it's kind of amazing," Regan said during the event. "We are a civilized society, and it just seems like only thing to do is take care of our pets."

Stephens, who was instrumental in getting Libre's Law passed, said that before HB 10 was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf, the law didn't address the proper way to tether a dog.

"This (law) is not suggesting that everyone should go ahead and tether their dog by any stretch or by any means," Stephens said. "What it does do is allow those pet owners who either need to or want to to tether their dog to do so safely and humanely."