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New Richmond Council Passes Anti-Tethering Law

January 3, 2008 NEW RICHMOND, OHIO - New Richmond Village Council has passed legislation prohibiting the tethering of animals (dogs or cats) to any object, stationary or otherwise, within the village limits.

The new law, unanimously passed by New Richmond Village Council Dec. 11, was spearheaded by village resident Perla Kinne after she noticed that the chaining of animals was a prevalent problem in the New Richmond area.

"There are a lot of people that leave their dogs chained up and just always left outside," she said. "These animals are becoming a forgotten fixture in village yards. I saw the problem, and because I love dogs so much, did some research to find out how other communities across the country have addressed the issue."

Completing that extensive research, in which Kinne discovered that there are four states with anti-tethering laws (and three communities in Ohio) in place, she approached the New Richmond village council over the summer, convinced council members of the problem and the need for legislation, and was solely responsible for the passage of the new anti-tethering law.

"I do not want to see dogs, or any animals, suffer," Kinne said. "The big issue here has to do with the very real public safety threat to the community as a whole to have dogs constantly chained; it is also inhumane and poses a threat to the animals."

New Richmond Village Administrator Dave Kennedy agrees and said that main purpose for the anti-tethering law is for the protection of the animals and the community.

"The ordinance is not meant to place any undue burden on dog owners, but there is a certain amount of neglect in the village," he said. "And many studies have shown that tethering animals can lead to severe aggression."

According to research conducted and released in 2006 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Center in Atlanta, one of the four most common factors in life-threatening or fatal dog attacks is either a tethered dog or a dog with a history of being tethered; children are the victims of about three out of four dog attacks, usually because children spend the most time with dogs and have less experience at knowing when a dog may bite.

The CDC reported in a 1991 study that tethered dogs are 2.8 times more likely to be aggressive and bite people than those dogs that are able to roam free. Tethering usually leads to increased feelings of territoriality because a tethered dog cannot run away from any understood threat.

And further, the CDC reported that the tether, or chain, could possibly trip up the victim, giving an aggressive dog a chance to maul a person.

"The threat to people is very real, but I want the law to also protect the animals from this inhumane and unsafe treatment," Kinne said. "There have been instances of dogs hanging themselves, having the chains embedded in their necks, dogs frozen to the ground, etc."

Kinne, who has two dogs of her own (she rescued one and adopted another), is not stopping at the village level. She, and her husband Michael Kinne, are have making plans to approach the county, and eventually, the state, to lobby for anti-tethering laws.

"Bottom line, we love dogs and do not want to see them suffer," she said.

New Richmond residents who violate the new anti-tethering legislation will be promptly reported to the police department and there are fines for non-compliance, Kennedy said. Repeat offenders risk having their dogs confiscated.