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County ponders dog tethering ordinance

By Staff | Oct 9, 2015

Jefferson County Commissioners are moving ahead with a public hearing on a proposed dog thethering and confinement ordinance after they received complaints about dogs chained for long periods of time.

Animal advocates have called to report cases of dogs chained without shade or water for extended periods. Many have given public comments during recent commission meetings.

The final draft ordinance can be found on the county’s website, www.jeffersoncountywv.org. The hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 at the Charles Town Library meeting room on Samuel Street. Written comments can also be submitted to the county.

Joining forces in support of the ordinance have been members of the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County as well as Jefferson County Animal Control officials. In addition, Sheriff Pete Dougherty has come out in support of the ordinance.

Commissioner Dale Manuel has stated that he would not have moved ahead without the support of the sheriff.

“Sheriff Doughtery has indicated that the ordinance is enforceable,” Manuel said.

The final draft includes language that stipulates that dogs cannot be tied outside for more than 16 hours in any given 24-hour period. While outside, they must be on a tether that is at least 12 feet long.

While dogs may be confined for 24 hours in permanent outdoor enclosures, there must be adequate space for exercise, as stipulated in the proposed ordinance. Shade and cover from the elements must also be provided, along with clean, dry bedding and adequate food and water.

Should dog owners be found in violation of any part of the ordinance, they will be given 15 days to correct violations or face a misdemeanor charge or fines up to $100.