An ordinance banning animals from being tethered was passed last week by Doraville’s City Council. Owners wishing to tie up their animals must now be present or face the possibility of heavy fines.
The restrictions, said mayoral assistant Luke Howe, are a “carbon copy” of DeKalb County’s current ordinance.
“We essentially adopted their own [DeKalb law],” said Howe. “There was some confusion before about whether DeKalb’s law applied here, but now that’s cleared up.”
The city council voted on the issue after several residents complained of dogs being chained or tied up for hours on end without any kind of supervision.
Howe said the Oakcliff Estates area was particularly problematic. “We received a number of complaints about that area, and a business on Buford Highway that chained up a dog to guard the property.”
According to animal advocacy Web site www.unchainyourdog.org, “a dog kept chained in one spot for months or years suffers immense psychological damage. A continuously chained dog usually becomes neurotic, anxious and aggressive.
“In many cases, the necks of chained dogs become raw and infected from too-tight collars. Dog tethers can also easily become entangled with other objects, choking or strangling the dogs to death.”
Tethered dogs are also more vulnerable to attack.
“We found cases of dogs being chained without food and water,” said Howe. “They looked pitiful.”
Some groups have called for an outright ban on chaining dogs, which some municipalities in the country have enforced.
Doraville’s ordinance does not go this far. The new ordinance does not consider an animal tethered when the owner is within five feet. Also, an animal can be left unattended for up to 12 hours provided it is tied to an enclosed running cable. However, the animal cannot be left alone overnight if tied up this way.
The running cable must also meet a number of requirements. For example, it must be at least 10 feet long, have a swivel at each end, tied to an un-moveable object, and be at least four and no higher than seven feet in height.
Animals must also be allowed access to water and food at all times, and only one animal per running line is permitted.
A complete list of these restrictions and guidelines can be found on the city’s Web site, www.doravillega.us. Illegal tethering should also be reported to Dennis Chupp at the Animal Services Department or the Doraville Police Department.