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Tethered Dogs: New Restraining Bill in WA

We’ve all wondered about tethered dogs being outside without water or in inclement weather. And maybe we’ve even felt helpless to be able to do something to comfort them or make sure that they are okay. This new law may assist in making sure all pets are secured in a kind and considerate way.

A new bill has just been passed by the Washington State Senate (SB 5356) that could affect pet owners in our state. The bill states that dog owners could possibly face penalties if their pets are tied up (tethered) in a way that is deemed inhumane.

What you need to know about the possible new restrained dog law:

Tethered dogs must have adequate access to basic needs.

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter
  • Freedom of movement (they need to be able to move comfortably)

On top of that, dogs shouldn’t be tethered for too long and some restraints, such as choke collars, would be prohibited when tethering without direct supervision. Senator Joe Fain (R-47th) stated about the bill he sponsored, “There’s a major difference between keeping a dog restrained outside for their own safety, for a reasonable amount of time, and reckless abandonment and neglect.” This new legislation would mean that “inhumane animal tethering” would become a civil infraction.


Why it is necessary

Sadly, many dogs still live their lives on the end of a chain. While most of the time tethers are used for short amounts of time to allow the dog some time outside, other dogs aren’t so lucky. Some poor pups get tethered up almost constantly and for many hours at a time.

And it’s no wonder that when a dog is tied up for a long period of time they tend to get aggressive. Tethering is unsafe for dogs and for the public. It has been proven to be a high risk factor in serious dog bites and attacks.

What’s more is that it is risky for your dog, they could end up hurt or even strangled. Sadly, this happened to a good friend of mine. They would tether their dog for large portions of the day while they were at work and running errands. She was tied to the base of an outdoor table/umbrella stand. One day when they finally returned home, they found Asia tied up around the chairs and table. She didn’t make it and the family was devastated. They didn’t even know the risks.

If you ever need to leave your dog alone for an extended period of time, make sure they are in a safe environment and hire a pet sitter for overnights or in-home boarding. What are your thoughts on this new bill and maybe law?