The state of Washington has a new law on its books that sets rules for people who tether their dogs, and establishes penalties if their dogs are found to have been tethered in an inhumane way.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed SB 5356 into law April 19, making it illegal to leave a dog tied up for “a reckless” period of time without that animal having access to adequate shelter, food or water. It also states that owners must ensure that if they tether their dogs, the dogs are tethered in an area that is safe and sanitary and protects them from the elements, such as extreme heat or cold. The new law, which goes into effect in July 2017, does not define what is considered a “reckless” amount of time to be tethered.
“We heard the heartbreaking stories of Coffee, Kingston and Hershey, who faced terrible abuse and neglect while tied up at their home,” state Sen. Joe Fain (R), Auburn said on his website on the passing of the bill. “These dogs were without water, forced to sleep in their own waste and tied up permanently to the point the collar became embedded in their neck. Fortunately for these three dogs animal protection officers were able to take action, but for many others intervention was limited until too late. With the new law animal officers can step in much earlier to prevent tragedy.”
Additional law highlights:
- Tethering via choke, pinch or halter collar or chain or rope is prohibited.
- Tethering via buckle-type collar or harness is permitted.
- Tethered dogs must have enough freedom to sit, stand, and lie down comfortably and not risk entanglement.
- First offense results in a warning and corrective action that must take place within seven days.
- A second offense is a Class 2 civil infraction.
- A third offense is a Class 1 civil infraction.
Washington is the 21st state to pass an animal tethering law.