City Council of Payson, AZ passes burdensome amendment for dog owners

Payson residents can no longer legally tie up their dogs to a stationary post outside.

The Payson Town Council last week adopted a resolution requiring owners who want to tie up their dogs outside to use a trolley system that lets the dog run back and forth across a yard.

Other changes to the town’s animal adequate care code limit use of even the trolley system from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The new rules also require a fully enclosed shelter for dogs to get out of the elements.

Wendy Larchick, who is on the Humane Society of Central Arizona board, said they proposed changes to the animal welfare code after members saw dogs chained up in yards without access to proper shelter. Some dogs spend their entire lives outside, she said.

She recounted one case in which a dog lived outside year-round, its only shelter an abandoned vehicle.

Payson’s animal control officer could do nothing because the town’s code did not specify adequate shelter, so the owner claimed the vehicle provided shelter.

Under the changes, a shelter is enclosed on three sides, has a roof and a floor. The shelter must provide enough space for the animal to stand up and turn around, while small enough to hold in their body heat in the winter.

The ordinance bars tethering a dog to a single point unless the owner’s in the yard at the time.

In the owners absence, they can be hooked to a trolley system with at least 10 feet of line strung between two posts. The dog on the trolley system must wear a collar or harness, but not a choke or pinch collar.

Larchick said you could pick up a trolley system at local stores for roughly $20.

The daytime limit for the trolley system should keep dogs from barking at night, she said. Moreover, a dog attached to the trolley system at night can’t defend itself against predators. She said owners can either bring their dog inside at night, let it run free in the yard or kennel it.

Town Manager LaRon Garrett said the animal control officer worried about the impact of the tethering restrictions on residents.

Larchick said some 600 municipalities have some type of anti-tethering law.

While the town already had laws on the books about adequate pet care, the amendment goes into detail on everything from fence height, food and how many dogs you can keep.

A dog in a fenced yard must have at least 60 square feet of space — like a yard that’s 10 feet by 6 feet with a fence that’s at least a foot taller than the back of the dog.

Property owners can have only four dogs, all with access to clean water and food.

Since added amendments will give animal control officers more grounds to act on complaints of animal cruelty or neglect.

Under the changes, owners cannot go into work and leave a dog chained to a vehicle, for example, even if it had access to food, water and shade.

Any pet owner violating this ordinance could be cited with a misdemeanor and if convicted in court, face a $250 fine for the first occurrence and $500 for subsequent occurrences.

The new animal welfare standards passed unanimously.

Read the entire code on the Roundup’s website.


Read the original article here.

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