20 August, 2014

Congratulations And Thanks To Dunbar City Council For Moving Ahead With Anti-Tethering Law

The City of Dunbar is not using lack of home rule as an excuse not to enact city ordinances that protect animals. In their Monday night council meeting they had a second reading of an ordinance that would require people who tether dogs to provide them with food and water. 

Yeah, I know, you'd think there wouldn't be a need to make such a law. You'd think the state code's prohibition against "cruelly" tethering a dog would mandate giving the dog food and water, but if you have ever called animal control or the humane officer or the police to report cruelty to an animal you've seen humane officers and police allow pet owners to force their animals to live in deplorable conditions because the state code doesn't define cruelty. Dunbar's proposed ordinance is a small step in the right direction.

About a year ago animal activists in St. Albans tried to take a longer step. We circulated a petition asking St. Albans City Council to adopt the Huntington ban on tethering (see below)  but St. Albans City attorney, Charles "Chuck" Riffee, nullified our efforts by telling city council that, without home rule, we lack the authority to enact animal protection laws. 

St. Albans' application for home rule was rejected because St. Albans missed the filing deadline. Dunbar, Nitro and 21 other cities managed to turn  in their homework on time so they get to compete to be one of the 16 cities which will join the elite home rule club.

So, again, Dunbar City Council, thank you for not using lack of home rule as an excuse to delay animal protection progress.

The Huntington ordinance says “It shall be unlawful for any owner or other person controlling or possessing any dog to tether a dog outdoors without direct supervision of the animal’s guardian.”
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