Lawmakers in Springfield, MO approved a bill on the night of December 14, 2015 that prohibits dog owners from tethering their animals outside for extended periods of time. The “reasonable” amount of time allowed for tethering a dog is recorded as no longer than 30 minutes “for the purpose of the dog to relieve itself.”
Many people tether their dogs humanely for this purpose, but still others keep them tied up for hours at a time as a form of restraint. The Humane Society notes that dogs are social creatures and can become bored and anxious as a result of being confined in one place, sometimes causing negative behaviors.
They write on their website:
In addition to animal welfare concerns, tethering has been proven to be a high risk factor in serious dog bites and attacks. Tethering is unsafe for dogs and for the public, and it is important for advocates and officials to understand this connection, so they can incorporate tethering regulations into effective community dog management strategies.
The Springfield city council says the bill is targeted at animal owners who purposely force their pets to live outside on a chain, and they are not the first to take action. Toms River, New Jersey and the state of Illinois have also enacted laws which limit the time a dog can be tethered outdoors, and names the offense a Class A misdemeanor, respectively.
Those found guilty in the town of Springfield will be fined accordingly.
The Humane Society provides suggestions for what you should do if you see a dog chained or tethered in your community, here.