Dog teth­er­ing ban left out of new an­i­mal or­di­nance

Dis­ap­pointed mayor says a res­i­dent gath­ered 600 sig­na­tures in fa­vor of tighter mea­sure.

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Ciara O’rourke corourke@states­man.com Con­tact Ciara O’rourke at 512392-8750.

The Kyle City Coun­cil re­cently amended its an­i­mal or­di­nance but the law is still miss­ing a pro­vi­sion the mayor has long lob­bied for — a ban on teth­er­ing dogs.

The re­vised city code in­stead says that the re­straint of dogs shall be gov­erned by state law, which for­bids dog own­ers from leav­ing their an­i­mals teth­ered out­side and unat­tended in such a way that lim­its their move­ment from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., when a heat ad­vi­sory has been is­sued and un­der other cir­cum­stances.

The state also pro­hibits own­ers from re­strain­ing dogs for more than three hours in a 24-hour pe­riod.

The coun­cil voted 5-1 on Nov. 20 in fa­vor of the amended or­di­nance, which in­cludes more rules de­tail­ing how res­i­dents can keep hon­ey­bees and lim­its the num­ber of hens al­lowed at one res­i­dence to six.

Mayor Lucy John­son voted against the or­di­nance; Coun­cil Mem­ber Bradley Pick­ett was ab­sent.

At past city coun­cil meet­ings, some res­i­dents raised con­cerns that the teth­er­ing ban would put a fi­nan­cial bur­den on res­i­dents that couldn’t af­ford to build fences in lieu of ty­ing up their dogs. Oth­ers wor­ried that with only one an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cer, the city couldn’t ad­e­quately en­force the law.

John­son, who char­ac­ter­ized the ban as a mea­sure to pro­tect an­i­mals from harm, said one res­i­dent col­lected more than 600 sig­na­tures sup­port­ing it.

Though such a ban ap­peared in ear­lier ver­sions of pro­posed changes to the an­i­mal or­di­nance, Coun­cil Mem­ber Diane Her­vol amended the or­di­nance so that teth­er­ing would be al­low­able ac­cord­ing to state law.

Her­vol said the or­di­nance wouldn’t have passed if it banned teth­er­ing al­to­gether.

Since Texas cities are al­ready re­quired to fol­low state law, John­son said she saw lit­tle point in amend­ing the or­di­nance to say the city does so.

In 2007, the Austin City Coun­cil passed an or­di­nance that’s stricter than state law, pro­hibit­ing chain­ing or teth­er­ing of unat­tended dogs, in­clud­ing the use of trol­ley or pul­ley re­straints, which state law al­lows.

In Round Rock, dogs can be teth­ered as long as the chain is at least 10 feet long, of­fi­cials have said.

The chain must weigh no more than a quar­ter of the dog’s weight and the dog must have ac­cess to water and shel­ter at all times.

This is the sec­ond time an ef­fort to ban teth­er­ing in Kyle has failed, though John­son was op­ti­mistic she had the sup­port of enough coun­cil mem­bers this time around.

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