Ca­nine pa­trol

New Pa. law tight­ens pro­tec­tions for dogs

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Loretta Rodgers

The Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States, Penn­syl­va­nia Ve­teri­nary Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, as well as state and lo­cal res­cues have warned of the dan­gers of the chronic chain­ing or tether- ing of dogs.

During a Mon­day morn­ing press con­fer­ence, state Sen. Tom Kil­lion, R-9 of Mid­dle­town, and state Rep. Todd Stephens, R-151 of Hor­sham, were joined by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of var­i­ous res­cue groups, in­clud­ing the Penn­sylva-

nia SPCA, to dis­cuss teth­er­ing reg­u­la­tions that will go into ef­fect at the end of the month as part of Li­bre’s Law that was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf in June.

“I am proud to have sup­ported House Bill 1238, now Act 10 of 2017, which pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive update to our com­mon­wealth’s an­i­mal cru­elty statutes,” Kil­lion said. “One spe­cific area of the new law in­cor­po­rates Se­nate Bill 298, known as Li­bre’s Law, which would in­crease the penal­ties for an­i­mal abuse. I am com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing to sup­port mean­ing­ful leg­is­la­tion that will con­tinue to sup­port and pro­tect our an­i­mals.”

The leg­is­la­tion places lim­i­ta­tions on chain­ing or teth­er­ing a dog out­side by ban­ning the prac­tice if the ba­sic needs of the an­i­mal as de­fined un­der Sec­tion 5532 are not met.

A dog is per­mit­ted to be chained not more than nine hours in a 24 hour pe­riod; the tether must be se­cured to a well-fit­ting col­lar with a swivel and by a tether of less than 10 feet or three times the length of the dog; the dog must have ac­cess to wa­ter and an area of shade; and the dog is not to be teth­ered for longer than 30min­utes when the tem­per­a­ture is over 90 de­grees or un­der 32 de­grees.

All of those fac­tors must be met in or­der for the pre­sump­tion that a dog has not been ne­glected to ap­ply. If the dog is not teth­ered in a man­ner that sat­is­fies these re­quire­ments, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer may file ne­glect charges. The law pre­sumes ne­glect if any of the fol­low­ing are present: Ex­ces­sive waste in the teth­ered area; open sores or wounds on the dog’s body; the use of a tow or log chain or choke, pinch, prong, or chain col­lar.

“In our opin­ion, a per­son should not own a dog if the in­ten­tion is to chain the an­i­mal out­side per­ma­nently,” said Mary LaRosa and Kim Mazzenga of Delco Dawgs. “We have res­cued an­i­mals with em­bed­ded col­lars that leave deep wounds. Peo­ple have put their dogs on chains and just leave them in the yard. They put a col­lar on the an­i­mal when it is a puppy and don’t bother to change it. The dog grows and is lit­er­ally is choked by the col­lar. We have also res­cued dogs frozen to the ground, dogs who haven’t been fed, given wa­ter or any at­ten­tion. It’s heart­break­ing. We are very happy that teth­er­ing reg­u­la­tions have been in­cor­po­rated into Li­bre’s Law.”

Dogs are nat­u­rally so­cial an­i­mals who want to in­ter­act with peo­ple and other dogs. Stud­ies have shown that a dog that is kept con­tin­u­ously on a chain can suf­fer not only phys­i­cal but emo­tional dam­age.

“Dogs are com­pan­ion an­i­mals and they seek loy­alty and love,” said Justina Cal­giano of the Prov­i­dence An­i­mal Cen­ter. “Dogs just want to please peo­ple. When we’ve seen dogs that are tied up, they are de­fen­sive at first. How­ever, they do learn how to trust again. It’s just more to over­come. Anti-teth­er­ing laws are a win as far as we are con­cerned. ”

Ac­cord­ing to the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States, an oth­er­wise friendly and docile dog, if rarely taken off a chain, be­comes neu­rotic, anx­ious and of­ten ag­gres­sive. In many cases, the necks of chained dogs be­come raw and cov­ered with sores, the re­sult of im­prop­erly fit­ted col­lars and the dogs’ con­stant yank­ing and strain­ing to es­cape con­fine­ment.

Ni­cole Wil­son, PSPCA di­rec­tor of hu­mane law en­force­ment, pre­sented a demon­stra­tion during the press con­fer­ence of reg­u­la­tions re­quired un­der the law re­gard­ing proper teth­er­ing.

“Some peo­ple do not re­al­ize that putting an­i­mals out­side in teth­er­ing sit­u­a­tions is dan­ger­ous,” Wil­son said. “They can be­come en­tan­gled, suf­fer­ing sig­nif­i­cant in­jury and even death. Im­prop­erly teth­ered, an­i­mals are un­able to find the coolest or warm­est spot. They are also sus­cep­ti­ble to the ill ef­fects of ex­ces­sive weather. Dogs are meant to have so­cial con­nec­tions. They are meant to be part of the fam­ily. Iso­la­tion is not good and neg­a­tive be­hav­iors come with this.”

Wil­son said adding teth­er­ing reg­u­la­tions to Li­bre’s Law will hope­fully help more an­i­mals and ed­u­cate own­ers.

Li­bre’s Law is named after a sick and ema­ci­ated lit­tle brown and white Bos­ton Ter­rier res­cued last year from a farm in Lan­caster, Pa. His story touched millions, prompt­ing the pas­sage of tougher anti-cru­elty laws in the state of Penn­syl­va­nia.

“One spe­cific area of the new law in­cor­po­rates Se­nate Bill 298, known as Li­bre’s Law, which­would in­crease the penal­ties for an­i­mal abuse. I am com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing to sup­port mean­ing­ful leg­is­la­tion that will con­tinue to sup­port and pro­tect our an­i­mals.” — State Sen. Tom Kil­lion, R-9 of Mid­dle­town

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