Decatur Animal Services explains new tethering ordinance

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DECATUR, Ala. — The Decatur City Council unanimously approved a dog tethering ordinance on Monday. This comes after nine dogs were taken from a Decatur home last Friday afternoon. Police said they were tethered in muddy conditions without shelter, while a tenth dog was found dead.

Brian Lundberg, the Decatur Animal Services Manager, says tethering is a problem in every city but the ordinance will bring that to a stop in Decatur.

The ordinance says tethering of dogs to a stationary object is prohibited. However, dogs may be restrained by a trolley system, or a tether attached to a pulley on a cable run, if certain conditions are met.

Lundberg says the ordinance will also better the health of animals and give more clarity to those enforcing the rules.

“It will help us enforce a cleaner surrounding of the area where the animal is tied out, or in this case, on the aerial run,” said Lundberg. “The other things it’s going to improve upon is the definition of what shelter is or housing for an animal. Before, the state laws didn’t give us a whole lot… and this will allow us to enforce a better setup for them.”

To report a known problem, Lundberg says to call the Decatur Police non-emergency dispatch number. They will then evaluate the situation and the outcome would depend on what they find.

“They might get a warning, depending on the cooperation of the person or what their situation might be,” he added. “Then if they don’t comply within a timeframe that we give them, they’re going to be facing a $100 fine — a minimum of a $100 fine.”

Depending on how bad the situation is, the issue could lead to an arrest.

“It really probably just depends on the level of care that they have, if there are injuries, what the surroundings look like, and the cooperation of the owner,” Lundberg said.

Decatur Animal Services will be posting a Q-and-A on their website in just a few days, in case anyone else needs further explanation.

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