Youngstown ordinance: Dogs cannot be tethered longer than 1 hour

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Dogs left outside in Youngstown yards without a fence must be tethered to a stationary object and cannot be tethered for longer than an hour, per a recent ordinance passed by Youngstown City Council.

A series of requirements about owners placing their dogs outside was approved by council Feb. 19. Many citizens have been complaining about dogs being left in the cold for hours at a time, according to councilman John R. Swierz, and the new ordinance largely follows the language of a similar law in Chesapeake, Va.

“Hopefully people are going to take this seriously, because it is a serious issue throughout the whole city of Youngstown,” Swierz said.

The ordinance includes 11 conditions that dog owners must follow if their dog is tethered outside, including:

a) the owner is present on the property

b) such tethering does not exceed sixty (60) continuous minutes

c) the dog is six (6) months of age or older

d) if female, the dog is sterilized or not in estrus

e) the tether does not exceed ten percent (10%) of the dog’s body weight

f) the tether is at least three (3) times the length of the dog from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail

g) the tether allows the dog to easily stand, sit, lie, turn around, and make all other normal body movements in a comfortable normal position for the dog

h) the tether allows the dog to interact safely with other animals, if at all

The language of the ordinance does not mention weather conditions.

“When you own a dog, those are your responsibilities if it’s cold or whether it’s hot,” Swierz said.

The Chesapeake law was presented to council by Mahoning County Dog Warden Dianne L. Fry, who is pleased to see it being made into law.

“People want something done with this. They want to see these dogs taken better care of and off these chains,” Fry said. “So if you do house your dog outside, you can still do that, but in a kennel with straw, and have the house in there so the dog actually is safer. There’s room to move.”

Fry said the law will begin to be enforced in the coming months, but the City and the Dog Warden “don’t want to scare anybody.”

“We’re not going to charge out and everybody has to have a kennel tomorrow. This is a transition,” Fry said. “It doesn’t vilify the average, responsible homeowner when they’re keeping the dog on their own property.”

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