Dog tethering ban left out of new animal ordinance
Disappointed mayor says a resident gathered 600 signatures in favor of tighter measure.
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.