PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - How long is "too long" to keep your dog tethered outside?
One group of Portsmouth residents say it shouldn't be allowed at all. They took their concerns to a city council meeting, and council is considering changing the city code.
Current code allows for dogs to be tethered, as long as the leash is three times the length of the animal and shelter and water is provided.
Several photographs, taken by PETA workers in Portsmouth, show dogs tethered in their yards, some for an extended period of time. Residents showed the images to city council.
"There were some pretty graphic photos of the damage that tethering a dog can do," said Councilman Bill Moody.
Councilor Moody says after the meeting he noticed more dogs tied up in yards across the city, but says the majority of them appear healthy and happy. He is open to strengthening the city code, but is not sure an outright ban is the answer.
"You might have to tether the dog for a short period of time," said Moody. "And, there lies the common sense part - a short period of time."
WAVY.com caught up with a Portsmouth mailman who spends a lot of time around dogs every day and even more avoiding them. He says larger breeds that are chained or tied down all day are more aggressive.
"The wagging of the tail, the back of their hair is pulled up, and they're growling," said the mailman. "They're always barking."
A dog owner himself, he thinks the ban is a good thing.
But other pet owners say their dogs need to be tied up, to protect people from being attacked. They say tethering is necessary, just like proper care of the animals.
"As long as the dog is being cared for, then it should be fine," said Jennifer Perdue, a Portsmouth resident.
"I can be going out of town and I can have my dog tied up for two days straight, as long as he has food, water, and someone checking on him," said Allton Thomas, of Portsmouth. "I feel like it's no problem."
Moody believes somewhere in between, compromise can be found.
"I want us to do it, but I want us to put thought into it and do it correctly," he said.
Moody asked the city attorney to look into the possibility of changing the city codes. The city attorney will make recommendations to council, who will make the final decision.
Moody says a tethering ban will be difficult to enforce.
Other Hampton Roads cities have also considered a ban. Hampton's will take effect in 2013. Norfolk and Virginia Beach have a three hour limit. Tethering is allowed in Newport News, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Isle of Wight, where a ban was recently rejected.
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