A new law went into effect in Washington state yesterday that aims to eliminate inhumane dog tethering. The law, which was signed by Governor Inslee in April, makes it illegal to leave a dog tethered for a substantial amount of time without providing the dog with access to food and water. The dog must be able to sit, stand, and lie down comfortably without having his movement restricted.
The law specifies that dogs are only allowed to be tethered for a period of time that is “not reckless.” Dogs can’t be tethered in a way that is unsafe or unsanitary, and multiple dogs must be on individual tethers that aren’t fixed to the same spot. Dogs that are sick, suffering from a debilitating disease, pregnant, or under six months old are forbidden from being tethered under any circumstances.
At least 20 states have laws restricting the use of dog tethering. In Washington, animal control officers will give a warning for the first offense. After that, violators will be issued a civil infraction.
While the new law may seem lax or even vague, the most important thing is that it allows law enforcement to legally act when they see a dog that’s tethered up and in need of help.