Council to discuss animal tethering restrictions


Every time Shannon Roof walks her dog — which she does four times a day — she notices another dog that is unable to do the same.

The dog is chained up to its house 24/7, she told Delaware City Council in July.

“I’ve never seen anybody out there,” the Westwood Avenue resident said. “I don’t see, you know, where the dog’s getting any attention. It’s in the dog house most of the time, hardly ever outside. There’s gravel outside the dog house; there’s stuff outside where it can get caught in.”

Roof said neighbors have told her the dog has been tethered for years. There are also photos of maggots in the dog’s food of table scraps, she said. She was unable to get help from the local animal control authorities because the dog met the city’s current law requirements to have food, water, and shelter.

Roof, who moved back to the city in February, referenced the introduction of a bill in 2015 to restrict people from negligently tethering animals outside. The state bill was referred to a committee without further action.

Councilman Chris Jones, 1st Ward, submitted Ohio House Bill 94 to the city attorney in order to produce a localized ordinance.

“I hope we pass an ordinance on this matter before the summer ends,” he said.

Council will discuss a draft ordinance to amend the law regarding the neglect of companion animals at its meeting on Monday.

The proposed law would not apply to livestock, such as horses and cattle. It requires tethers to be of sufficient length to allow reasonable movement within the area of restraint and to be free of entangling on objects. It also requires the pets to have enough clean food and drink and a clean shelter, without insect or rodent infestation.

If approved, violators of the law would be fined $150 on the first offense. A second offense would be considered a second-degree misdemeanor. Owners will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if the pet is physically harmed because of the violations.

Twenty-one states and Washington D.C. have restrictive tethering laws, according to the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. There are 13 Ohio communities with similar laws and one community that prohibits tethering entirely.

In other business, council will:

• Have a first reading of its five-year Capital Improvement Plan. The plan is out of balance from 2019 to 2022. The city manager proposes a $350,000 allocation to The Point project to help meet an estimated $6.2 million funding gap. The project will cost more than $25 million. Adoption is scheduled for Oct. 9.

• Consider approval of resolutions to participate in an Ohio Public Works Commission grant program. These resolutions will replace ones approved at prior meeting as Heffner Street will replace Union Street to be resurfaced. Heffner was identified as a street to be resurfaced in the 2018 CIP, according to a city prepared fact sheet.

Council will meet in executive session at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1 S. Sandusky St., with the public meeting at 7 p.m.

By Brandon Klein

bklein@delgazette.com

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.