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Tethering is a fairly common practice that can become incredibly dangerous for both dogs and humans when done irresponsibly. Letting a dog out into a yard on a lead to go to the bathroom is not going to cause any sort of harm, but far too often tethering is used as a way to keep a dog. Dogs that spend the majority of their time tethered are even categorized as "resident dogs" as opposed to "family dogs"  because of the distinct temperamental differences due to being tethered away from people.
Part of the danger with tethering is how easy it is to ignore. Dogs kept primarily on tethers tend to be far more anti-social than dogs raised with families indoors, with positive interaction. Tethered dogs, due to their isolation, are at a greater risk of attack humans. Over 76% of fatal dog attacks between 2000-2009 involved tethered "resident dogs," with a large number of the victims being children simply approaching the dog . The psychological harm done to a dog through tethering is insidious and difficult to see until it's too late.
It isn't just psychological dangers to worry about either. Tethered dogs are also at risk for neck injuries, sores, collars growing into their skin, as well as being targets for bugs and parasites that endanger the dog's health . In areas of extreme temperatures, dogs left outside without water or shelter can die within a few hours of being left outside. Leaving a dog tethered on the sidewalk or in the backyard during the summer is just as dangerous as leaving a dog in a hot car, something most states have laws against.
States like Texas, California, and Connecticut have enacted laws that allow tethering, but only for a "reasonable" period of time . For example, Texas law states that "a reasonable period is one that does not exceed three hours in a 24-hour period," and is "no longer than is necessary for the owner to complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be restrained." California's law reads similarly. Owners can tether, but for "no longer than is necessary for the person to complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be restrained for a reasonable period." Such simple guidelines allow for flexibility, but protects the animals that most need it.
By enacting a similar law, Pennsylvania would be saving the lives of potentially thousands of dogs, and protecting children and adults by reducing potential dangers. Sign now to tell Pennsylvania to enact tethering laws to protect animal and human lives alike!
Dear Secretary Redding,
Pennsylvania has been one of the most vital states since the countries inception, helping to lead the country countless times through history, and taking the initiative to drive innovation and ideas. Yet, when it comes to protecting the lives of animals, Pennsylvania has fallen drastically behind. Instead of acting as a leader, Pennsylvania is now acting as a warning to other states.
Animal abuse is a sickening act that compounds violence in families and communities. With the FBI increasing its scrutiny and record keeping in regard to animal abuse, states have begun enacting simple, effective laws in order to reduce the abuse, and to protect innocent people from animal attacks. One of the most effective changes for states has been putting tethering laws into place.
Dogs that spend the majority of their lives on tethers account for an astronomical number of animal attacks. 76% of the deaths from dog attacks between 2000-2009 were from dogs subjected to tethering as their primary way of life. Tethering keeps dogs isolated, unable to process interacting with humans, and puts them at a greater risk of disease. Even a few hours outside in the extreme heat or summer or cold of winter is enough to kill a dog. Allowing people to tether their dogs for any amount of time they want does nothing but harm the dog, and potentially other Pennsylvanians.
States like California, Texas, and Connecticut put restrictions on tethering, allowing it for a temporary, reasonable amount of time. Creating a similar law in Pennsylvania against tethering would go a long way in protecting Pennsylvanias citizens, and would once again put Pennsylvania in the forefront as a national leader in protecting animals. Help save the lives of Pennsylvanias family, furry and human alike!