We applaud the Oxford Board of Commissioners for passing a new ordinance that offers protection for dogs whose owners choose to tether them outside.
Responsible pet owners should ensure that if their pet is tethered outside that it is not for a lengthy period of time, and — as the new ordinance requires — that the dog has adequate protection from the elements, food and water.
But not all pet owners do that, hence the need for the ordinance.
There are myriad reasons pet owners may choose to tether a pet outside, including that the pet is a frequent escapee, the area isn’t fenced or the family has always tied up its pets outside and may not realize the impact that has on the animal.
But the impact of tying up dogs outside without their basic needs being met can have serious consequences for the animal, according to the Humane Society.
Some dogs develop sores around their necks; they are at risk for strangulation or attacks by other dogs. During extreme heat, like what we are experiencing now, dogs have died from being tied up outside without adequate water and protection from the weather. Even if they do have adequate water, dogs frequently tip over their water bowl.
The Humane Society also says tethering for long periods can alter the behavior of a dog, making it more aggressive or skittish.
The community has been receptive to Oxford’s new ordinance, according to Oxford Commissioner John Tovey, who introduced the measure.
“I’ve had nothing but positive feedback,” Tovey said.
Owners in Oxford who violate the ordinance are subject to a fine of $100 per day per violation.
If people are unwilling to give their dogs basic comforts, they should not be pet owners in the first place.
The Oxford ordinance will perhaps help some pet owners either do things differently for their pet or lead them to make the decision that the dog may be better off without them.