Whether it’s subzero or sizzling hot outside, some dog owners apparently forget Fido can feel those temperatures, too. That’s why a tough tethering law, aimed at protecting dogs from being tied up too long each day, could soon be on the books in Montgomery County, Md.
Citing anti-cruelty concerns, County Executive Ike Leggett is proposing legislation that would require owners be within eyesight of their tethered pets or face a $500 fine, the Washington Examiner reported.
County officials say the measure would limit dogs' exposure to brutal weather conditions, as experienced this year during a scorching summer and snow-filled winter. Last year, animal control officials received 116 complaints related to tethering and discovered dozens of additional cases when responding to other incidents.
"Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals," said Adam Parascandola, director of Animal Cruelty Issues for the Humane Society of the United States. "A dog kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months or even years suffers immense psychological damage."
The proposed new law would require that tethers be at least 10 feet long with access to shade whenever the temperature is above 70 degrees, the Washington Examiner reported. Owners would also have to provide shelters with stand up, turn-around room for their pets that are left outside.
Alexandria passed a similar law earlier this year, prohibiting owners from tethering dogs for more than three hours a day, the Washington Examiner reported. D.C.'s adoption of a tethering law almost 10 years ago led to an immediate 17 percent drop in animal cruelty complaints.
Although cats may not be seen as quite as social, the new bill in Montgomery County would cover Fido's his feline friends as well.
Fan, Follow and Text: Get the latest from NBCWashington.com anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Sign up for our e-mail newsletters and get breaking news delivered right to your mobile phone -- just text DCBREAKING to 622339 to sign up. (Message and data rates may apply.)