Dog chaining bill signed in Connecticut
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2003:
HARTFORD–Animal Advocacy Connecticut founder Julie Lewin
announced on July 10, 2003 that Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland
had signed the Confinement and Tethering of Dogs Act and three other
bills endorsed by AACT. To take effect on October 1, the
Confinement and Tethering of Dogs Act is the first state law in the
U.S. to limit how long a dog can be tethered outdoors.
Rowland vetoed a similar bill in 2002 that included specific
restrictions on tethering, but approved this one, spokes-person John
Wiltse told Associated Press, because it requires only that
tethering may not be for an “unreasonable period.” What is
“unreasonable” may vary with the weather and the breed and age of the
Both the 2002 bill and the bill now signed into law were
sponsored by Representative Kenneth Bernhard (R-Westport). Bernhard
was formerly board chair for Friends of Animals, but resigned after
FoA opposed the 2002 bill.
“This is the issue that got me into animal rights,” Lewin
said. “I hope it will be the stimulus for other laws in other
Lewin began working toward passage of the Confinement and
Tethering of Dogs Act in 1984, after becoming acquainted with a
Doberman/pit bull terrier mix she named Woggle, who lived his whole
life chained to an old car axle in a Hartford inner city back yard.
Visiting Woggle every day for seven years, Lewin was allowed to walk
him on a leash during his final year.
The other new laws endorsed by AACT authorize animal control officers
to sterilize animals in their custody after seven days, encourage
judges to require counseling or participation in animal abuse
prevention as a condition of probation for animal abuse convictions,
and exempt the Connecticut Humane Society from paying an otherwise
mandatory fee of $45 per unsterilized animal claimed from a pound,
if CHS provides the sterilization.
Tammy Grimes, founder of the national anti-tethering group Dogs
Deserve Better, on July 11 congratulated Lewin and offered a prize
of $100 “for the best photo of a chained/penned dog off chains and
having fun. We will need before-and-after photos,” Grimes said.
Photo submissions should be sent to <email@example.com> or
P.O. Box 23, Tipton, PA 16684, before “Chain Off 2003,” a day of
dog liberation activities scheduled for August 16.
Victoria state, Australia, beat Connecticut to establishing
anti-tethering legislation by two weeks. Agriculture Minister Bob
Cameron on June 24 introduced new regulations requiring that dogs be
let off tethers for at least two hours in each 12 hours, should be
held only with metal chains, should be allowed a roaming radius of
at least three metres, should have access to a kennel, and should
be secured either to a fixed point which allows 360 degrees of
movement or a running tether such as a clothesline.