Beginning Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, dogs throughout Doña Ana County will get some relief from chains and tethers as a portion of the county’s new animal-control ordinance takes full effect.
Following a nationwide trend to abolish or severely limit the amount of time dogs can legally be chained – as well as the conditions under which limited chaining remains allowable – the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners has approved the following revisions, which Animal Control personnel in the field will be empowered to enforce.
* A person owning or having charge, custody, or care over a dog on his or her premises may use a tether as a temporary means of restraint only.
* A person shall not tether a dog to a stationary object for more than two hours in any 12-hour period.
* A person shall not tether a dog to a running line, pulley, or trolley system for more than four hours in any 12-hour period.
* A person shall not tether a dog in an unenclosed area where people or other animals are able to wander into the proximity of the tethered dog.
* A tether used to restrain a dog shall be at least 12 feet in length. Such tether shall not enable the animal to reach beyond the owner’s property.
* A tether used to restrain a dog shall be affixed to a properly fitting collar or harness worn by the dog.
* A person shall not wrap a chain or tether directly around the neck or other body part of a dog.
* A tether used to restrain a dog shall not weigh more than one-eighth of the animal’s body weight. The tether weight shall include any additional objects attached to the dog or tether, such as locks or fasteners.
* A tether used to restrain a dog shall have working swivels on both ends and shall be fastened so that the animal may sit, walk, and lie down using natural motions.
Critical definitions associated with the law include these three:
Tether: To restrain an animal by means of a chain, lead, runner, cable, rope, or similar device attached either to a stationary object or to a running line, pulley, or trolley system.
Physical Restraint: A person owning or having charge, custody, or care over an animal shall keep the animal under humane physical restraint at all times.
Owner’s Premises: A person owning or having charge, custody, or care over an animal on his or her premises shall restrain the animal either by a secure enclosure or by immediate control.