Tethering is the act of tying up, chaining or otherwise attaching a dog to an immovable object to prevent them from running away.
We fully understand that tethering is sometimes necessary. When camping, hiking, hunting, etc. and no fences or other options are available, tethering your dog is necessary. And that is not what we are addressing.
For people who legitimately cannot afford any other means of restraining their animals other than tethering, the community should and does help, in some areas. For those without community assistance, The North Carolina Animal Fund (coming this spring) will the a resource for assistance.
However, the inhumane tethering of animals, and the intentional neglect and cruelty that usually goes hand in hand with dogs tethered for the majority of their lives, must be addressed specifically as violations of the NC State Animal Abuse ordinance.
North Carolina Animal Protection Laws, Chapter 8, § 14-360. Cruelty to animals, construction of section.
(a) If any person shall intentionally overdrive, overload, wound, injure, torment, kill, or deprive of necessary sustenance, or cause or procure to be overdriven, overloaded, wounded, injured, tormented, killed, or deprived of necessary sustenance, any animal, every such offender shall for every such offense be guilty of a Class H felony.
(b) If any person shall maliciously torture, mutilate, maim, cruelly beat, disfigure, poisoned, or killed, any animal, every such offender shall for every such offense be guilty of a Class H felony. However, nothing in this section shall be construed to increase the penalty for cockfighting.
The only North Carolina State Law that refers to tethering is §14-363.2. Restraining dogs in a cruel manner.
A person who maliciously restrains a dog using a chain or wire grossly in excess of the size necessary to restrain the dog safely is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. For purposes of this section, 'maliciously' means the person posed the restraint intentionally and with malice or bad motive.
These two laws need to be combined and expanded into common sense tethering ordinances.
Tethering a dog for so long that a collar embeds itself into the neck of the dog is maliciously restraining a dog and wounding or injuring a dog. It can also disfigure a dog. Tethering a dog out where the bowls tip over, spilling water, could be depriving of sustenance.
Abusive methods of tethering include but are not limited to:
Using chains too heavy for the dog to maneuver
Tethering with objects in the way that allows the dog to become wrapped around and prevented from being able to reach their shelter, food or water
Tethering for long periods of time – sometimes permanently – allowing the collar or chain to embed itself into the dog's neck
Tethering without sufficient shelter
Tethering with bowls that tip over, depriving the dog of water
Tethering small dogs, making them vulnerable to free roaming dogs or wildlife
In Richmond County, Archie had been tethered so long that his collar had become embedded into his neck and he had a severe infection. A good samaritan saw Archie and photographed him, then reported him to Animal Control. Archie's owner surrendered him.
In Rutherford County, concerned citizens photographed a female dog, tethered to a truck topper, licking something pink between her legs. Upon further observation, it was discovered that the dog was licking her uterus, that had prolapsed and fallen out of her body.
Most counties do not have restrictions on tethering and the North Carolina Animal Protection and Animal Welfare laws provide limited protection.
North Carolina's laws are woefully lacking in specificity, allowing all manner of cruelty to take place. Please sign our petition demanding laws to protect dogs from the cruelty of malicious or neglectful injuries due to tethering.