Hampton Bans Animal Tethering, Chaining

The new proposal addresses the main reason for the ordinance, said Gray, which is to ensure pets are not mistreated.

A regulation to ban dog tethering in the city of Hampton, Virginia was approved by the Hampton Council in a unanimous vote after an extensive public input and review process.

Opponents of tethering say that long-term chaining of animals can make pets aggressive and that some owners do not provide adequate water, food, shelter and enough room for dogs to move around. Some animal owners say it can be done safely and allows animals whose owners don’t have fences to spend time outside.

Regulations were first proposed in December that would have placed an 8-hour limit on tethering, but many residents argued that was too long. Council asked for more public input before making a decision.

The new proposal prohibits tethering between sunset and sunrise. In addition, animals can be tethered only if the owner is in the “immediate physical presence” or if the owner obtains a permit from the city. Before a permit will be issued, an animal control officer will visit the home to ensure the animal is licensed and has adequate food, water, shelter and room to move, and that proper equipment is used. A permit application fee of $25 will help defray the cost of the inspections.

If a dog is tethered after dark, animal control staff can immediately issue a summons. In the daytime, an animal chained without an owner present or without a permit could also draw an immediate summons. Violations would be punishable as a class 4 misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $250.

The new proposal addresses the main reason for the ordinance, said Gray, which is to ensure pets are not mistreated. In addition, he said, it allows responsible pet owners to tether responsibly, including those who work. The “immediate physical presence” answers concerns from pet owners who said they sometimes tether a dog while they are working or sitting in the yard in the pet’s presence.

Before proposing the new ordinance, Gray said, the Animal Advisory Board polled other localities. Both Norfolk and Virginia Beach adopted a 3-hour time limit; however, they both reported that it was extremely difficult to enforce because they had trouble proving in court that the animal was continuously chained for the time period.

167 thoughts on “Hampton Bans Animal Tethering, Chaining

  1. this should be a no brainer anyway!!! ” In addition, animals can be tethered only if the owner is in the “immediate physical presence” or if the owner obtains a permit from the city. Before a permit will be issued, an animal control officer will visit the home to ensure the animal is licensed and has adequate food, water, shelter and room to move, and that proper equipment is used.”

  2. to bad it was legal to chain the owners , even if it was for a short time just so they would know . how there pets feel….

  3. I love animals but this law shouldn’t have been passed. I understand a lot of people don’t tether properly but plenty do and now they have to suffer.

  4. Way to go Hampton City Council!! Thank you. I hope this spreads across the nation! FAST. Animals need protection from stupid pet owners.

  5. “In addition, animals can be tethered only if the owner is in the “immediate physical presence” ” Seriously? So my Mom who lets her dog sit outside because her dog WANTS TO and who isn’t sitting outside with her for the 2 hours she wants to hang out and bask in the sun or the wind would be fined under this ordinance? I’m all for anti-tethering laws if they make some sort of sense but as always they don’t.

    1. It sounds to me like they’re going to take into account if the owner is at least paying attention to them. Most animal control officers, in my experience, are smart enough to take into account the actual situation and not just smack perfectly-loving owners.

    2. If she is home then it should be fine. Also, if the dog enjoys being outside then how about taking it for a walk to get its enjoyment. A nice long walk the dog gets what it wants and then it will tired out and can relax nicely indoors. I think a dog would enjoy a walk a lot more than sitting in a yard chained.

    3. Read the article. This is not to punish the good dog owners, it is to punish the neglectful ones. You can apply for a permit to allow your dog outside time.

    4. Michelle: “immediate physical presence” would be in the house. It would not be: Gone shopping, At the neighbor’s, At work, etc. It does not mean the owner has to be IN the yard, NEXT TO the dog. And if your mother’s dog is in a fenced yard, why tie her up at all? If the yard is not fenced, she shouldn’t be outside UNtied as she can wander (which is also not good for the pet as they can get stolen, hit by cars, into fights, etc.).

  6. Am I the only one who thinks this is stupid and is going to make escape prone dogs lives miserable? Some dogs HAVE to be tethered, for their own good. I’d be ignoring this law if I had a dog like that, this is stupid.

    1. You are certainly in the minority, Chelsea. Not being a dog owner, or one that has dealt with MANY abuse cases as many of here in favor of this new law are, no doubt you don’t understand fully the horrible conditions dogs are in when they are left on a chain FOREVER. They have no exercise, no interaction with their owners (dogs are pack animals and seriously need companionship) and are often ignored to the degree of getting little to no food, water or shade. It’s the old adage: “out of sight, out of mind.” Sadly, it’s not, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” It’s not a stupid law at all. It is one that responsible dog owners will embrace and if someone claims to love their dog but isn’t willing to pay a $25 fee to get a permit to tether the animal because their circumstances require tethering, then the owner is NOT a responsible owner. If they can’t afford the $25, they shouldn’t have the dog. It’s not like it’s $25 a month, after all.

  7. I so wish they would ban that in South Africa and Bostwana.. Breaks my heart to see the horses and donkeys tethered together and can’t get out of the way quick enough when an IDIOT drives passed them.

    1. An imbeded collar has nothing to do with tethering. An imbeded collar is from idiots who don’t keep up with the growth of their pet or put the collar on too tight to begin with.

  8. This is great, I’ve never and never will chain up my 3 dogs, I hear too many horror stories when it comes to changing up animals. I know of a lady who changed up her dog and when she came home from work, she found her poor dog was dead and hanging from a tree branch, I could never live with myself if that ever happend to my 3 pups.

    1. Karlena, when I was a young girl I came home from school one day to find my neighbor’s dog hanging over the wall and his hind legs barely touching the ground! He had climbed up on his yard side and gotten on something that allowed him to scale the wall (yeah, wall … why the rope I have no clue) and then he either jumped or slipped over and was hooked on a branch of the huge tree on the yard side of the wall. If my dad hadn’t been home to get him, I know the dog would have died. Boy, did my dad give THEM a piece of his mind when they got home from work. (This was in the late 60s).

  9. When I work, my girl is out on her zip line. She’d be miserable stuck inside.. She’s off when I get home though but the zip line is a way for her to enjoy being outside. She can jump the fence so she needs to be on the zip line.

    1. Growing up, my dog Mikey was on a zip line. Sadly he was not a house dog but he was far from ignored. I, and all my neighborhood friends, would play with him endlessly when we’d get home from school. But sadly, that’s not the norm now-a-days. It sounds like you love your dog. 🙂 I bet you’d be willing to pay $25 for the permit, knowing your dog was safe and happy.

  10. @Tahlia, if you’ll read the article again, your setup is allowed, provided you’ve had it checked out and obtained the necessary permit and that your girl isn’t on her zip line at night.

  11. @Bridget, Thanks, I didn’t see that! That sounds pretty good at least. Ya, she sleeps inside at night. I don’t have to worry since we don’t have anti-tethering laws thankfully.

  12. great thing!! no animal belongs on a chain!
    and for the ones that like to escape…… how about a fence???

  13. Not good. I understand there is a need because people use tethers and leave there dog there all day , in inclement weather, etc. However, my dog will not stay in my yard without his tether. I consider it my duty as an animal owner, in order to keep him safe to keep him on the tether. He is not outside for hours on end in terribly weather or heat.

    1. Allison, then you would get the permit. I’m not sure why people are upset over this. If you love your pet, pay the tiny $25 fee and get the permit. But when you’re home, your dog should be inside as dogs are pack animals and do not deserve to be outside for extended periods of time alone – nice weather or not.

    1. New York already did. Last month they made new tethering laws. I think you’re only allowed a maximum of 3 hours and even less during a heat wave.

  14. I believe in teether my dog. She has two teethers. I have her on there 50% of the day off and on. When I wwork in my yard she gets to run around and when I go in or at the store she has to be teethered. I have had dogs since childhood. Even though I’m allergic. My dog goes to work and some times she has to be teethered there too. I don’t like chained dogs……… Now that this has passed, we will see more dogs in tthe pounds if people can’t afford fences….. :o( this should have been a case by case thing……

    1. It is a case-by-case thing. If they can’t afford a fence and have to be at work, they pay $25 for the permit. Why is this a problem? If they can’t afford $25, then they shouldn’t have a dog. When it comes to abuse you must have something on the law books otherwise there is no law broken and then no matter how bad off the animal is, there’s nothing to say “it’s wrong.”

  15. I had a very long tether on my dog… it covered our entire yard..I used it so she wouldn’t jump over our fence and go running around the neighborhood…I never had any problems with it!!!!

    1. Invisible fencing is cruel! Let me put that collar on you and let you try to cross the boundaries. I bet you’d change your mind instantly!

  16. @Claudia; Some dogs can.. Ya know, jump fences.

    No, I don’t like dogs that are chained 24/7 without any attention but people who do right by their dogs, they shouldn’t have to suffer because of those idiots.

    1. So you’re saying that you’re not willing to be inconvenienced so that other animals will be treated kindly? Wow, and you call yourself an animal lover? Should we remove the seat belt law for “responsible” drivers on roads alone? That is such an inconvenience to have that thing around my waist and chest that I shouldn’t have to be “tied in” because of some bad drivers. As responsible citizens we sometimes have to be put out a bit in order to make this world a better place for everyone … especially those that cannot speak for themselves.

  17. If you read the legislation, safe tethering is NOT prohibited: “The new proposal prohibits tethering between sunset and sunrise. In addition, animals can be tethered only if the owner is in the “immediate physical presence” or if the owner obtains a permit from the city. Before a permit will be issued, an animal control officer will visit the home to ensure the animal is licensed and has adequate food, water, shelter and room to move, and that proper equipment is used. A permit application fee of $25 will help defray the cost of the inspections.” Basically, pay $25 and you can safely and legally tether you dog. That seems fair to me.

    1. That’s the thing, Gina. These complainers aren’t reading the law. They’re just seeing that THEY would/will be inconvenienced and that just makes this law (to them) stupid.

  18. Though I have to say, I don’t think that all chained up dogs are miserable or in danger, and I understand what some folks are saying about it possibly causing problems…I guess time will tell and we’ll see how this new law pans out.

  19. Chained to a cable and done proper when there is no fence…perfectly fine. I used to be same way until I had NO choice. Better than getting in fight shot or hit injured and killed!!

    1. @ Michelle-If people are home and it’s not done for hours straight then it’s fine. About tethered dogs when there is no fence and nobody is home. Can’t that be dangerous too? I would be afraid to leave my dog on a chain outside with no fence and nobody home. I’ve seen many reports of dogs stolen from someone’s yard. Even many bait dogs were actually dogs stolen from someone’s yard(even with a fence) unfortunately there are also idiots who like to taunt dogs and even throw things at them, I’ve had to stop kids from doing that to a neighbors dog. The dog can’t even do much since he is chained while there might be idiots trying to do something to it. Same with tying a dog up while going into the store. Here in NY, dog theft is on the rise by 32%.

      1. Denise, sadly you are correct. Leaving the dog outside, alone, while at work or away for a long period of time, is a bad and risky thing. But then people that do that don’t really care what happens to the dog. Many, many dogs are stolen from unfenced AND fenced yards when the friendly dog is left outside alone. they are like children. Would someone tie their child up on a tether while away at work? Of course not! The child cannot defend or protect itself and a kind, family dog would most likely go with a stranger too or easily be over powered. These one-family pets often end up as bait dogs for dog fighting rings, sold to animal testing labs and even used in people’s own sick and twisted personal animal abuse (including and not limited to sexual abuse). The cases I’ve come across in my 30+ years of animal rescue would shock the most seasoned!

  20. This is good, but not nearly enough! This should be WORLD WIDE thing, not just specific cities in the US!

    1. Relmond, please read the article. It’s very clear that they can be on a tether and if they have to be gone for longer than allowed times, they get a permit.

  21. Now they will be out of sight in the basement. People who mistreate animals are not going to stop, they’ll just hide it better:(

    1. Thank goodness not everyone has a basement! No one said this would end all animal cruelty but it will sure help. Don’t look at what “might happen,” but look at what good this will do and it WILL do some good. As for those POS that abuse animals, we’re not stopping here. We will keep seeking them out and finding them. But this is a very good beginning.

  22. The rest of the world should follow their humane respect and care for animals!! Meanest dogs I’ve ever met lived on chains!

  23. I put my dogs on tie-outs. They are on them for their protection & the neighborhoods protection. A fence wouldn’t keep my husky in. She can jump very high. We have a leash law here. That I am all for. My son was attacked by a dog when he was young. The tie-outs are my dogs onlyy way to be outsude other than during their walks. When I work, they are in the house in air conditioning. They both sleep in my bed giving me very little room. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m glad my state allows tetheing. But ut might used responsibly.

    1. Kris, this law does not ban tethering. It merely requires extended periods be allowed via a permit. It does not sound like you would have any problems should you be in this area. You are already meeting the requirements.

  24. Over-regulation like this by busy body city counsel like this make me want walk my pup past every one of their houses and let her leave her thoughts behind on their yards. Did this town really have no regulations in place reguarding irresponsible pet owners? If an animal is being neglected, I doubt changing leashing regulations will change a bad owners behavior. Animals can be neglected indoors as well.

    1. The State already has a tethering law. A tether has to be 3 times the length of the animal from its nose to the tip of it’s tail. Tethering also has to go by the weather and proper housing. All that happened was a rewrite of the State law to make it look like it was the councils idea. All they had to do was enforce State law.

    2. Why do you see negativity in this new law? Why not recognize that it is a good thing? Sure there will still, sadly, be POS that abuse animals but should that make it ok to abuse them this way, too? I really am at a loss for understanding why anyone that LOVES animals would not agree with this.

  25. About time. We need that same ban here in Canada too. I see far too many dogs chained up. I had my dog for 14yrs and never chained her once. Not even when I walked her. She would never let me out of her sight.

  26. are these people out of there minds? I have 2 small dogs that can not help but run away when left out to go!! both are well loved, fed, have everything they want. but as jackrussels, they can not help but run away. we live way out in the country, but people drive like asshols, and the township will not let us put up a fence. so I say again, are these people out of there minds?

    1. If you read the entire article then you would know that if you are home and it’s done just for a short while such as letting them out to do their business then it is fine.

      1. Denise, they’re not reading. They’re running off half cocked and emotionally spinning on their heads. I’d laugh at them if it wasn’t so tragic. Seems there are a lot here that either can’t read, have a short attention span or lack comprehension of the English language.

  27. Any tool for containment, training, or general caring for dogs can be cruel and will be considered cruel by somebody. I tie my dogs out at times, but only if I’m right there, because sure as hell, some kid will come by and start tormenting the dog. This is how most dog bites happen. How about some laws for containing kids and making parents responsible? It’s also cruel to treat a dog as if it is human as these are the dogs that take over a house and bite their owners.

    1. Mike, I repeat for the umpteenth time … read the article. No one is saying that they cannot tie their dogs out. Wow, I really don’t get what so many are missing. It’s a short article and there aren’t too many terribly big words so I’m lost as to why so many are thinking this law doesn’t allow you to do anything but sit by your dog at all times, day or night.

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