Pet owners who leave their animals tethered without care for extended periods of time, or who don’t properly pick up and dispose of their animal’s waste, are now liable for punishment under changes to Town of Huntington’s animal code that were unanimously approved earlier this month.
The law, penned by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, prohibits the tethering, leashing, fastening, securing, restraining, chaining or tying of a dog to a stationary object for more than two continuous hours in any 12-hour period. Restraint are now required to be at least 10-feet for a running able trolley, and 15 feet for a tether to a stationary object – long enough to give the dog continuous access to food, water and shelter. In addition, the stationary tether, leash or chain should not weigh more than an eighth of the dog’s total body weight, nor exceed 10 pounds.
Cuthbertson held a press conference at the town’s animal shelter in East Northport on Aug. 17 to announce the new law, which he said is aimed at curbing inhumane and unsafe treatment of animals.
“A study by the Centers for Disease Control found that chained and tethered dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite and the long term effects of tethering can severely damage a dog’s physical and psychological well-being,” Cuthbertson stated. “My new anti-tethering legislation that was enacted on Aug. 16 is designed to better protect the health, welfare and safety of Huntington residents and their animals.”
Cuthbertson was joined by Ginny Munger Kahn and Barbara Buscarino, both of Long Island Dog Owners Group, a nonprofit dog advocacy organization.
Kahn, president of LI-Dog, stated, “We strongly support the town’s efforts to curb the practice of tethering dogs outside for long periods of time and by means that can cause pain and suffering. As animal lovers, it’s hard for us to understand why any animal is ever subjected to abuse. We are so grateful to Councilman Cuthbertson and the town board for taking action to restrict this inhumane practice.”
An added measure in the legislation will now lawfully require all dog owners to “pooper scoop” after their pets and deposit their doings inside a sealed plastic bag before depositing in a covered garbage receptacle.
The law also prohibits pet owners from leaving animals in unattended vehicles without sufficient ventilation.
First violations of the town’s animal code are punishable by a fine between $100-$500. A second offense within 18 months of the first is punishable by a fine ranging $250-$1,000; for third offenses, fines range $750-$2,500