Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Update on Dog Tethering from King County Councilmember Larry Phillips

I wanted to share the below letter from King County Councilmember Larry Phillips regarding recommendations for banning dog tethering. This is good news!

Dear Ms. Ahlgren,

Thank you for your interest in animal care in King County, and specifically in the practice of chaining dogs. I am pleased to announce that on March 30, 2009 the Metropolitan King County Council unanimously accepted a report recommending a partial ban on the continuous chaining or tethering of dogs. I was glad to sponsor this legislation.

Last year I wrote with the good news that the Council unanimously voted to ask the County Executive to study the costs and challenges of implementing such a ban in both the unincorporated areas of King County and in the 34 suburban cities that contract with King County for animal services. This week's legislation, Motion 2009-0159, accepts the Executive's response.

In short, the Executive recommends an outright ban on tethering dogs in certain situations, including no tethering:
  • Of puppies under 6 months old
  • Of sick or injured dogs
  • Using training chains, choke chains, or pinch chains
  • During periods of extreme weather (heat, cold, windstorms)
  • If there is no access to water, shelter, and dry ground
In addition, the Executive recommends a ban on any night-time tethering of all dogs (for example, no tethering between 9 pm-5 am). These bans would be in effect in unincorporated King County, as well as in any cities that contract with King County for animal care and control services that wish to be included in the ban. You can read the full report online at the following link:

The Council will be taking a close look at the findings and recommendations of the report, as well as the associated costs of implementing a ban. Citizen input has been and will continue to be very important in considering moving forward with a ban, so I appreciate knowing your views on this matter.

There is significant evidence that continuous chaining of dogs is inhumane and may result in increased vicious and aggressive behavior toward other animals and humans. Thus, banning the continuous chaining of dogs may help keep both people and animals safer; certainly, more education and early intervention around the root causes of aggressive behavior in dogs can lead to happier, better behaved dogs, and can help prevent attacks on innocent victims.

Thank you again for your interest in animal care and safety.


Larry Phillips, Councilmember
Metropolitan King County Council, District Four
King County Courthouse
516 Third Avenue, Room 1200
Seattle, WA 98104-3272

For more information:

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