» What is Anti-tethering?
What is Anti-tethering?
Anti-tethering laws are designed to restrict or ban the tethering of dogs. Tethering can be anything that ties the dog to an object: a tie-out staked in the ground, a chain tied around a tree, a leash hooked to your waist and in extreme definitions it can even be a leash in your hand or a restraining noose at the groomer's.
Anti-tethering laws sometimes limit the number of hours a dog is allowed to be tied out, sometimes mandate that someone must be with the dog while he is tied, sometimes describe other specifics of the conditions in which he should or should not be tethered. Sometimes they simply ban tethering completely.
The Animal Rights Myth
The animal rights groups claim that tethering contributes to aggression in dogs. They state that dogs who are tethered are subject to abuse in the form of lack of food and water, unsanitary conditions, insufficient access to shelter, embedded collars, hazardous conditions in the are where they are tied.
The Government Beliefs
The legislators are presented with false data. They believe the statistics that are given to them by the animal rights groups mainly because they are unaware of the fact that this information is skewed at best and at times completely fictitious.
Why is Anti-tethering Wrong?
Tethering is a viable containment method for many dog owners. Some people live in a place where they cannot adequately fence their yard because of the terrain or because of a homeowner's association. Other people have dogs who will go over, under or through any fence that is put up, some people can't afford the thousands of dollars it costs to construct an adequate fence for their dog, and even more costly is fencing for multiple dogs who might get into a fight if left in a yard together.
Tethers are not abusive. A properly configured tether allows the dog access to shelter and fresh water; is secure without being too heavy; uses a strong, secure flat collar; is used as a means of allowing the dog some freetime to be outdoors without the restriction of a leash while containing him on the property. The area is kept clean and it is free of any obstacles that present a hazard to the dog.
The Reality of Enforcing Anti-tethering
Enforcing Anti-tethering laws isn't always easy. It relies on actually witnessing the dog being tethered. Often dogs are tethered in a back yard, where they can't be seen from the street. For law enforcement to see a tethered dog in a backyard would require trespassing - searching the property without a warrant. They can rely on neighbors reporting that a dog is tethered, however a neighbor might not report it or a neighbor might make a false report if they don't like someone. Animal control officers would then follow up on the false report, possibly harassing the owner in question.
If there is a limit for how long a dog can be tethered, someone needs to be watching for a continuous amount of time in order to prove that the dog was not taken off the tether during this time period. Do our law enforcement officers really have that kind of resources available? Have crime rates been reduced to that extent? If this is to be done by animal control officers, the time could better be spent enforcing leash laws. Think about what it would cost to have the officers available to sit outside houses for hours on end simply to determine for how long the dog was tied up while still having the manpower available to handle other animal control calls and to run the shelter.
What really causes abuse and aggression
Abuse in the form of not feeding a dog, not socializing a dog, not providing adequate shelter and medical care, leaving embedded collars on their neck - this is all basic neglect. The cause of this isn't in the tether, it's a societal issue. While I'm not going to go into depth about the psychoses of humans that cause them to cruelly neglect a dog, I will point out that neglect can occur with or without a tether. It can occur in the house just as easily as in the yard. The tether, which is nothing more than a mere tool, does not abuse a dog, nor does it cause abuse.
Aggression, also not cause by a tool such as a tether is a complex issue. For many dogs aggression is in their nature at birth. Some dogs may have been improperly socialized, creating fear aggression. Some may have been mistreated, causing defense aggression. A lack of training can contribute to aggression in a dog who is already prone to being aggressive.
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