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Old 03-07-2008, 04:50 PM
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Default The "progressive" movement that is anti-tether

Because you know they're better off dead than living with, errr, certain people (ie, non-ideal races, people who hover just above the poverty line, etc).


Low-income communities feel effect of new law prohibiting dog chains
In first four months of rules, animal control has received more than 875 reports of possible violations.
By Suzannah Gonzales
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Monday, March 03, 2008

When two tickets came in the mail, Dianna Routt said, she wasn't surprised.

Animal control officers had been stopping by her aunt's house on Chicon Street in East Austin regularly to see whether Bobby, Routt's 75-pound pit bull, was on a chain. The day that animal control took Bobby, he was on a chain, she said, because Routt's aunt was waiting for the mail and Meals on Wheels and More to make a delivery.

"Now I'm out of maybe $1,000 for these fines," said Routt, a 32-year-old customer service representative. "Yeah, I'm still mad. I want to take it to trial."

During the first four months that the city's rules prohibiting dogs from being left unattended on outdoor chains and tethers were in effect, the city received 875 calls about possible violations. The result has been 98 citations, with a potential fine of up to $500 for each misdemeanor charge.

When the city ordinance was being discussed, East Austin activists said poor families would be unfairly targeted. They noted that dogs are often chained because fencing is expensive and that keeping dogs tethered is as much an issue of cultural difference as one of humane treatment.

An American-Statesman analysis of city records shows that the ZIP codes that drew the most calls about possible violations correspond with some of the city's poorest areas.

East Austin ZIP code 78702, which had a median household income of $23,348 in 2000, had the most calls: 133. That was about 15 percent of all calls from the date the law went into effect, Oct. 1, to Feb. 6.

Next in line were ZIP codes 78721, 78723, 78744 and 78745, which each received more than 80 calls during that period.

In addition, 25 owners voluntarily gave up their dogs, some to the Town Lake Animal Center, rather than comply with the law, shelter Director Dorinda Pulliam said.

City officials have acknowledged that the law might disproportionately affect lower-income residents. Pulliam said a lot of targeted outreach is done in lower-income neighborhoods, where some owners keep their guard dogs on chains and where some rental property owners don't want fences built.

"All these socioeconomic factors are affecting the dog," Pulliam said. "If a family is low-income and struggling, the dog is going to be struggling, too."

"We're not out to get people's money. We're out to help the dogs," Pulliam said.

There is a fund that provides vouchers to help low-income families with half the cost of fencing materials for one dog. If a recipient has more than one dog, the voucher may cover less than half because additional fencing may be needed to meet city space requirements for multiple dogs.

But the vouchers are entirely dependent on donations, and for a couple of months, there was a waiting list because funds were low. So far, the fund has raised $12,125 and awarded $9,150 in financial assistance, according to Lyndon Poole, a member of advocacy group Chain Free Austin. At this point, based on fundraising levels and volunteer availability, the plan is to stop accepting applications after Oct. 1.

Austin is one of at least six cities in Texas and 18 communities nationwide with similar laws that prohibit chaining dogs. Fort Worth officials approved that city's ordinance in January, and Bastrop approved new rules last month.

The Austin City Council passed the ordinance in June after efforts by Chain Free Austin. The coalition of citizens, businesses and organizations proposed revising existing rules and got the support of city officials. Chain Free Austin members think that chaining dogs is inhumane and makes dogs aggressive.

Poole believes the new rules are working and says he sees far fewer chained dogs as he walks and drives through the city. As for the ZIP codes that got the most calls, Poole said, "I think some of that might have to do with the style of fencing and the visibility of the animal.

"In some of the more affluent neighborhoods, you have privacy fencing, and you may not see a dog that's tethered in the backyard."

Others who were ticketed said they had good reasons for tethering their dogs, including to restrain the animals so that social services representatives could make house calls.

Routt went to Municipal Court on Wednesday, but instead of a trial, she opted to plead no contest to two charges of improper restraint on a dog and agreed to pay $225 in court costs; take a two-hour, $30 pet-ownership class; and do eight hours of community service at an animal shelter. If she had been found guilty at trial or had paid the original fines,
misdemeanor charges would have gone on her record, Routt said. "I felt this was the best way out."

Before she received the citations, Routt got a $175 voucher to improve the fence at her aunt's house. Routt's aunt became attached to the dog while living near Routt and still looks after him.

Bobby is now staying with Routt's two other pit bulls at a friend's house in Round Rock, but she's working on improving the fence at her aunt's house so Bobby can return. On top of the voucher money, Routt said the fencing material will cost $430.

Reginald Toussaint, who was ticketed in January, said he doesn't think the law is fair. "I think they're just wasting time," he said.

He said he chained up his three pit bulls — Remy, China and Kilo — in the backyard when no one was home.

The dogs have hopped the 5-foot-high fence before, Toussaint said. It's easy for them. "I'd rather not take the chance," he said.

The chain is 9 or 10 feet long, long enough so "they still can do whatever they want," he said.

"If I had the money to do whatever I want, yeah, I would have them off the chain. But not everybody is capable of getting a 9-foot fence around your whole backyard. That costs a lot of money," Toussaint said.

"The material. You've got to pay someone to put that up," he said. "That's money."

[email protected]; 445-3616

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news...03dogchain.html
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Old 03-07-2008, 05:30 PM
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Some of these laws are so asinine !!! There has to be time limits as no dog should be tied out 24/7 , but most dogs would rather be tethered for a while than only go out on a leach , A near neighbor has a lovely Rottie . They aren't fenced and he's an inside/outside dog . Yes , when they are home they do tether so that he can enjoy the great outdoors . Our laws here are no tie-outs between 11 PM and 5 AM . I hope it's working as it is new . I wish it was in state when my neighbor ( gone , thank God ! ) had a 10 week old Pittie on a chain that could have pulled a truck out of a ditch !!!! I'd water and socialize when they were gone and used fly wipes on him . I didn't dare report as I didn't want my dog's safety at risk !!!! I did point it out to Meter readers , etc and I think they reported as the poor pup vanished ! Had this law been in effect then , I would have reported .
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:39 PM
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To be honest... I think the people fight for these stupid things because it makes THEM feel good. they don't care who it hurts even if it hurts the dogs ... think about it. A dog goes from being able to enjoy the outdoors for a couple hours each day on a tie out to not being able to enjoy the outdoors at all... and if they receive enough fines eventually the dog will be removed from the people it loves and placed into a cold, callous shelter.

People fight these things for no other reason that to get their name in the paper and to make themselves FEEL like they did something good even though they are totally uneducated in the results it could cause.
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:52 PM
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That's my point Sparks ! They really don't think of the quality of life in some cases !
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:58 PM
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That's my point Sparks ! They really don't think of the quality of life in some cases !
Nope... they get tunnel vision and then pat themselves on the back only to complain later about the number of dogs in shelters when in part it was their own doing.
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:52 AM
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I wonder if anyone who supports these laws have paused to consider what will be next. Kennels? Crates in the house?
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:18 AM
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Part of it is stereotyping. Not only of the sort of people who chain dogs (i.e. trashy, poor, irresponsible) but of the image of a chained dog (nasty, lonely, sickly, poorly socialized, miserable). They believe the images in their heads (encouraged by propoganda from AR groups) instead of actually investigating the practice of tethering, or thinking through the reasons why you might want to restrict tethering (preventing dogs from being chained out all the time, so perhaps time limits are sensible) and the alternatives available (more AC officers to investigate allegations of abuse).

It reminds me of when Summit posted that awful story of the dog starving near to death while tethered. She used it as a way to argue against tethering. Undoubtably, had the dog been loose, it could have eaten garbage, and would not be in such bad shape. However, it could have starved behind a fence or in a crate too. The problem was human abuse and neglect (not feeding the dog) rather than the tether. Unfortunately, most people don't think that carefully.

Or take the fact that "chains make dogs vicious." In a sense, that's true, dogs that have been extensively tethered are more likely to bite. But that's not because they've been tethered, its because they've been neglected and poorly socialized. The chain doesn't make them vicious, its the behavior of the owner who chained them.

But most people don't think that carefully. Not always because they are stupid, but because they are busy, don't know anything about the topic, and listen to what the "experts" tell them.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:41 AM
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Stuff like this bothers the crap out of me. I'm looking into rental houses, right? Not all of them that are in my price range have a fence. Since we're going to live in the city near busy streets, it's possible that I will need to use a tether on my dogs to ensure their safety while outside. My dogs are never outside unsupervised anyway, even when I was living with my parents and we had a huge fenced yard. But tell me how forbidding me to tether my dogs for a bit is better than never letting them off a 6-foot lead?
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:57 AM
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I used my clothes line in the old house ( when my females were in heat .....watching of course ) The chain was just long enough for them to lie down and they could run the length of the yard .
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilavati View Post
Part of it is stereotyping. Not only of the sort of people who chain dogs (i.e. trashy, poor, irresponsible) but of the image of a chained dog (nasty, lonely, sickly, poorly socialized, miserable).
The article does make a good point, though - if low-income people have a hard time supporting themselves and their kids, how can they be expected to provide proper care to a dog, especially a large-breed? We all know how much it costs to feed (even low-quality food), vaccinate, and provide vet care to a dog. If they can't provide even the cheapest care, they will be cited for animal neglect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilavati View Post
thinking through the reasons why you might want to restrict tethering (preventing dogs from being chained out all the time, so perhaps time limits are sensible) and the alternatives available (more AC officers to investigate allegations of abuse).
But the problem is that it's almost impossible to enforce time limits on tethering, and it's too expensive to hire more AC officers.

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Originally Posted by Lilavati View Post
Or take the fact that "chains make dogs vicious." In a sense, that's true, dogs that have been extensively tethered are more likely to bite. But that's not because they've been tethered, its because they've been neglected and poorly socialized. The chain doesn't make them vicious, its the behavior of the owner who chained them.
So how to we make it a law that owners socalize dogs and train them so that they are less likely to bite?? That's also almost impossible, and even worse when you consider that these are low-income people who certainly don't have the money for training, and probably don't have time to socialize their dog.

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Originally Posted by Lilavati View Post
But most people don't think that carefully. Not always because they are stupid, but because they are busy, don't know anything about the topic, and listen to what the "experts" tell them.
I don't think it's that simple. I don't know whether I agree with the law or not, but I certainly understand why it is in place. I have always suggested that people not leave their dogs outside if they are not home, and if the dog is causing problems (barking, digging, etc.) they should not be outside unsupervised at all. Maybe if people had done this, we wouldn't have had to make laws restricting owners.
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