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August 20, 2013

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For Aug. 20

(Continued)

Resident calls for dog chaining ordinance

This letter is in regards to my many requests of the Clark County Commissioners to consider passing a dog chaining ordinance. Those requests have been ignored for several months now. The following is a recap of information sent to them:

Many communities across America and beyond have learned the hard way that not only is chaining dogs an animal welfare issue, it’s also a public safety hazard. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that chained dogs were 2.8 times more likely to attack than dogs who were not chained. Since 2003, at least 130 Americans have been injured or killed by chained dogs. Nearly 75 percent of those victims were children. Chaining dogs is a national public and animal welfare crisis. The passing of laws restricting chaining of dogs usually follows an attack by a chained dog.

In September 2006, the state of California banned the tethering of dogs for more than three hours in a 24 hour period. The governor said, “This bill helps protect dogs from cruelty and enhances public safety by preventing aggressive animal behavior that can result from inhumane tethering.” If we tried to invent the cruelest punishment for dogs, we probably couldn’t come up with anything worse than “solitary confinement.” Dogs chained outside suffer from loneliness, boredom and weather extremes that can be downright brutal.

While some people are uncaring when it comes to their dog’s comfort, others are merely repeating family customs. It shouldn’t happen to “man’s best friend.” Take a drive down many of our country roads and city streets, and you’ll see them — dogs left to spend their entire lives trapped at the end of a chain. This surely is one safety issue that needs little if any debate, not to mention a humane issue that should require no negotiation. A new ordinance would be best for all our citizens as well as all our pets.

I am requesting that the commissioners open a discussion and consider a dog chaining ordinance. The only response I have received from them was a call last year in which I was told that it would be too difficult to enforce. My response it that difficulty enforcing a law is not a reason not to have one.

— Robin Kerstiens, Sellersburg

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