By MARK FREEMAN
The full Oregon Senate will consider a bill that would make it illegal to tie a dog in a fixed place for 10 hours a day or leave outside pets exposed to the elements.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously passed the so-called “tethering bill” meant to get outside dogs off ropes or chains for long hours of solitary time and into environs with adequate bedding and shelter.
Violators would face fines of up to $1,000.
No Senate vote was scheduled. If the Senate adopts it, it would have to be signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber before it becomes law.
House Bill 2783 has seen bipartisan support so far as it sailed through the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee and enjoyed a more than two-thirds vote in the House.
Under the bill, dogs and other domestic animals could not stay tethered to a fixed object for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period. The provision is extended to 15 hours in a 24-hour period if the tether is attached to a running line or pulley system.
Animals would have to be on reasonably long tethers that won’t tangle and not be on a collar that pinches or chokes the animal when pulled.
The rules don’t apply if the owner or possessor remains in the physical presence of the tethered animal, or in a campground or recreation area.
Dogs used for protecting livestock, dog sledding and hunting are exempt and all dogs would be exempt during transportation.
The bill also would require shelters such as dog houses or barns that would keep the domestic animal out of the elements. That does not include in or under vehicles, crates or carriers or shelters with wire or chain-link floors.
The bill also would require those shelters to contain adequate bedding to remain dry, reasonably clean and at normal body temperature.
Proponents have testified that tethered dogs tend to be lonely, unsociable and anxious enough to help make them more aggressive.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Veterinary Medical Association warn that chained dogs are about eight times more likely to bite. Chained dogs are more likely to escape, run at large, and pose a threat to themselves and the public.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.