McDONOUGH — Henry County has instituted a new ordinance prohibiting residents from chaining or tying up their dogs to a stationary object such as a tree, vehicle or house.
The county’s code of ordinances did not previously address tethering. Board of Commissioners Chair Carlotta Harrell said the change came about as a result of complaints and videos submitted by residents of dogs with chains wrapped around their necks and chained to trees.
The new ordinance prohibits animals from being tied, restrained or confined by the use of a tether. The county defines tethering as an animal attached to a stationary object by a chain, cable or similar device commonly used for the size and type of animal involved.
However, the use of a cable or trolley system or a swiveling tether anchored to the ground is allowed. The cable must be at least 10 feet in length and must be between 4 and 7 feet off the ground. The tether attached from the trolley to animal must be lightweight, no more than 5% of the animal’s weight and use of pinch or choke collars are prohibited. Additionally, the tether must be attached to a collar or harness different than the animal’s collar with medical and identification tags.
Dogs attached to a system must be able to move freely and have access to food, water and shelter.
Overall the cable, trolley or swivel system may not be closer than 30 feet from a property boundary line, public right of way, street or sidewalk.
The ordinance was approved on Sept. 8 and will go into effect 60 days after approval to allow for residents to comply with the new laws. After the 60 days, residents may be ticketed by Henry County Animal Control. Penalties include a maximum of a $1,000 fine or up to 60 days in the county jail.