SLC Council discusses dog tethering

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SALT LAKE CITY -- In some parts of Utah, pet owners are allowed to tether their dogs for as long as they want to.

One city wants to change that.

Salt Lake City wants to put a limit on how long pet owners can tether their dogs. At Tuesday night's city council meeting, members and residents discussed when should a rowdy dog be deemed a vicious animal?

"At one point there was a mauling of a dog that broke free of its tether," said Councilman Kyle LaMalfa, whose ambition to propose a new ordinance in his city was sparked by the story of a 6-year-old boy who was attacked by a neighbor's pit bull in February.

"A dog could be tied to a tree for its entire life, that is legal under current law,” LaMalfa said.

That statute only stands for certain areas in Utah. The councilman wants to limit the time a pet owner can tether their dog to 10 hours.

Polly Hart, the Director of Millcreek FIDOS, which stands for Friends Interested in Dogs and Open Space, has mixed feelings about the proposed ordinance.

"I do feel like 10 hours is probably too long," Hart said.

Hart was one of several dog owners who showed up to Tuesday night's public hearing on tethering, but that's not the only topic that caught people's attention.

"I want to point out in the ordinance that the definition of a dangerous animal is any animal which is properly classified as dangerous in accordance with pertinent written standard by the animal services, and definition is the same," said one Salt Lake City resident at the podium.

What makes a dog dangerous or vicious?

Some residents say there's too much grey area. Others think tethering a dog for too long is what makes them more vicious than others.

"I didn't realize dog tethering was such a huge problem until I moved to Salt Lake City on the west side, and just a couple months a street away from me a child was attacked by a dog that broke free of their chain. These dogs are often driven insane. I'm not talking about dogs that are tied up temporarily, these are dogs that are tied up to chains their entire lives," said another resident during the public hearing.

There were some people who said tethering should be banned all together. Others argued creating an ordinance that has limitations is nearly impossible to enforce. The City Council did not vote on the proposal.


  • Bob

    A pit bull broke free from it’s tether and mauled a 6-year old neighborhood boy. Naw, couldn’t be. Pit bulls would never do that.
    (Sarcasm for pit bull owners who don’t believe their pets could ever do such a thing.)

  • JoAnne Rando-Moon

    It’s proven from studies, that tethering causes animals to be more aggressive. Imagine you are chained to your desk all day and night! Any dog can attack and maul. A long ago study by a well known behaviorist showed dogs consider their territory to be a two block radius around their homes. They instinctively protect their territory. I really don’t know why people have dogs just to chain them up. It’s not for protection as the criminal just walks out of range and breaks in!
    As a previous ACO, unless there are times set aside when chaining is not allowed, the ordinance is unenforceable.

  • Jessica

    Here is some sarcasm (Pitbull’s are the worst dogs ever. they are the number 1 dogs known to attack) Please people I have 2 Pitbull’s that are my WORLD they are the most energetic, loving dogs I have EVER OWNED. Pitbull’s are not aggressive as everyone puts them out to be these dogs are wonderful around people (AGAIN when they are raised in a loving and caring home.) These dogs act how they are raised. It is not the dogs fault they are raised incorrectly any dog can attack when provoked even a poodle. They have natural instincts like humans. To the family of the little boy that got bit I am sorry your child had to go through this.

    • Bob

      Why do pit bull owners like Jessica bury their heads in the sand?

      Do pit bulls deserve their reputation as vicious “attack” dogs? An overwhelming amount of evidence suggests they do. A five-year review of dog-bite injuries from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, published in 2009 in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, found that almost 51 percent of the attacks were from pit bulls, almost 9 percent were from Rottweilers and 6 percent were from mixes of those two breeds.

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