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Sarasota Thursday, May 13, 2010 10 years ago

County explores ban on dog tethering

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Sarasota County is investigating a dog-protection law that many counties around the state and around the country have already adopted.

“Hundreds of counties have banned permanent tethering,” said Belen Brisco, Southwest Florida representative of Dogs Deserve Better. “It’s a more humane way of treating a dog.”

Brisco has been writing county commissioners and asking them to consider prohibiting people from permanently tying up dogs outside.

“Keep a dog outside all the time, and it will be doing a lot of barking,” she said. “If you bring a dog inside, he’s safe, and you’re safe.”

Brisco said some people get dogs to be watchdogs and keep them outside, but she said they’re much better watchdogs when they feel secure inside a house.

Dogs that are always outside and are not socialized pose a danger, according to Brisco.

“Most victims of dog bites are children,” she said. “They approach an unsocialized dog, and it becomes aggressive.”

Several nearby counties have passed dog-tethering laws, including Pinellas, Lee and Collier counties. Collier’s law went into effect May 1.

Commissioner Shannon Staub felt the issue should at least be explored in Sarasota County.

“Our (current) ordinance covers food, shelter and the length of tethering, but not the time a dog is tethered,” Staub said. “I thought it was worth taking a look.”

Commissioner Jon Thaxton questioned whether the law could be enforced, but Staub felt that many dog owners may not be aware of the effects of permanently tethering a dog and that once informed, they will stop.

Staub asked county staff to report back at a future commission meeting with their findings on a potential new law. Commissioners could then vote to alter the current law.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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