Algie T. Howell Jr., a Democratic delegate from Norfolk, Va., has said he will introduce a bill in that state’s general assembly in January 2007 that would make it illegal for pet owners to chain their dogs for more than three hours a day.
“Chaining a dog is not only inhumane, but in my view, makes the dog more aggressive,” Howell said.
The Virginia cities Norfolk and Virginia Beach have already passed local ordinances setting three-hour limits. And in September 2006, California passed a law similar to the one being introduced by Howell, where dog tethering is banned for more than three hours a day.
However, Howell’s statewide dog-chaining bill could face strong opposition in the politically conservative, rural areas of Virginia.
In a related move, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals in Norfolk has launched a TV campaign calling for legislation of dog tethering. The campaign consists of a public service announcement taped by a Virginia Beach woman whose 2-year-old cousin was killed in October 2005 by his family’s chained dog.
Before the family had begun chaining the dog, the boy had often ridden on its back. But after a long period of being chained and neglected, the dog killed the toddler, the PSA says.