Friday, December 2, 2022

Leland to address animal abuse and tethering in newest code updates

Leland Town Council will discuss a proposed change to town code addressing animal control (Port City Daily / photo JOHANNA FEREBEE)
Leland Town Council will discuss a proposed change to town code addressing animal control (Port City Daily photo / JOHANNA FEREBEE)

LELAND — The Town of Leland is looking to add a new section to the town’s ordinances to help prevent animal abuse and ensure uniformity when it comes to animal control standards. If approved the new six page ordinance would address definitions, animal abuse, and the use of animal restraints.

Lieutenant Jeremy Humphries of Leland Police Department said the new ordinance would help add teeth to the town’s current code. It also addresses issues that might not have been previously discussed, but would likely come up as the town continues to grow.

The new laws would prohibit all abuse of animals, both out of negligence or willful actions.

While the more obvious items of animal abuse are listed including physical abuse, it would also be against town code to fail to provide adequate medical attention for sick animals, or to fail to provide adequate shelter.

According to the ordinance, “Adequate shelter means a clean, ventilated, shaded enclosed area of at least three sides and a weatherproof roof accessible by an animal, of sufficient size and nature so as to provide the animal with free movement, a place to lie down ably, and reasonable protection from adverse weather conditions.”

Animals in vehicles

Another issue the ordinance addresses is one that has caused controversy nationwide and that is confining animals in a vehicle. Currently there is no immediate remedy to help animals that might be in danger, but the new ordinance could change that.

According to the proposed ordinance, keeping any animal in a vehicle that could endanger its health be it from temperatures or lack of food and water would be grounds for a town employees to break into the vehicle to remove the animal. The town employee would be required to make a reasonable effort to find the driver of the car, and the breaking and entering would have to be done in the presence of a police officer, or animal control officer.

The animal would then be impounded and a written notice of the incident would be placed on the vehicle, along with where the owner can pick up the animal.

The ordinance will also crackdown on outdoor kennels for dogs. If dogs are kept outside in a kennel there must be more than 50-square feet of space for the animal, and crates and other indoor temporary housing will not be permitted for exterior use.

Restraining animals

When it comes to physical restraint of animals, the new ordinance would make it illegal not to physically retrain an animal, excluding cats.

Fenced-in yards, as well as invisible electric fences, are adequate and would not require the physical restraint of a pet.

Tethering of animals is permitted providing the following criteria is met:

  • A tether shall be equipped with a swivel on both ends.
  • A tether shall be a minimum of 10 feet in length and shall be made of either
    metal chain or coated steel cable. Rope, bridles, belts, or cords may not be used as a device to secure an animal.
  • Tethers shall be attached to a buckle-type collar or harness and under no
    circumstances shall the tether itself be placed directly around a dog’s neck. Tethers shall not be used in conjunction with training collars such as choke or pinch-style collars. The harness or collar must be made of a material that prevents choking and shall be monitored regularly so as to assure proper fit, prevent discomfort or injury.
  • The weight of the tether shall not exceed 10 percent of the total body weight of
    the dog, but shall be of sufficient strength to prevent breakage
  • The tether by design and placement shall be maintained to allow the dog a reasonable and unobstructed range of motion without the possibility of entanglement, strangulation or other injury.
  • The tether shall not be attached at point or location that would allow the animal to wrap the tether around a post, tree or debris or extend the tether over a fence, ledge, porch, pool or other object or edge in such manner that could result in the strangulation of or injury to the animal.
  • The tether shall allow the dog access to adequate food, water and shelter.
  • A dog must be four months of age or older to be tethered.
  • Only one dog shall be attached to a single tether.
  • Pulley systems, running lines or trolley systems shall be at least 10 feet in length
    and no more than seven feet above the ground.

The full list of proposed changes can be found in the agenda packet for Leland Town Council. Council will meet Thursday to vote on the proposed ordinance.

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