Guilford County Says No to Tethering, Yes to Fencing

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In Guilford County, North Carolina, a new ordinance might mean future fines for pet owners who tether their dogs and don’t keep them under supervision. A local organization is working to provide dog owners with appropriate yard fences.

Why is Guilford saying no to unsupervised tethering? According to the Humane Society, there are a number of issues associated with the practice. It is considered inhumane because of what it does to the dog. Dogs are social creatures by nature, and confining them to a single spot for days or months at a time can cause psychological damage and turn a friendly dog into an aggressive one.

There are physical health concerns, as well. Dogs that have been tethered have often been found with necks covered in sores. In 1996, the U.S. Department of Agriculture weighed in on the subject as well, saying that, “A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog’s shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog’s movement and potentially causing injury.”

For this reason, the city of Greensboro decided to say “no” to unsupervised tethering, instead preferring that residents use outdoor fences to keep their dogs secure. It will be illegal to tether a dog to any object, whether it’s a pole or a tree. Starting September 2015, owners caught disobeying the ordinance can be fined $100 or more. Many organizations recognize that, while many owners would be okay with meeting the code, not all can afford a new fence. For this reason, Unchain Guilford is offering free outdoor fences to dog-owning families who can’t afford to buy one themselves.

Unchain Guilford provides residential fences thanks to donations from many other local groups and individuals. The Greensboro Veterinary Hospital served as their primary, initial donor. They hope that, as word spreads of their mission, more will chose to donate so that families will not feel obligated to give up their pets.

Currently, the initiative is only in an educational phase. Groups are working to educate and remind dog owners of what can happen to dogs when pet owners choose to tether them, and why residential fencing is a better option.

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