Anti-tethering ordinance passed for Detroit dog owners

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The city of Detroit passed a new anti-tethering ordinance designed to keep dogs and pet owners across the area safe.

"This is a great move for the city of Detroit," said Wendy Stroup, east side coordinator of C.H.A.I.N.E.D. "Our city council and our new Detroit Animal Care and Control which is just doing amazing things, staffed with compassionate people."

Wendy Stroup has been working to push the ordinance forward as well the folks with C.H.A.I.N.E.D. who has seen countless dogs left on chains, dehydrated and starving, says Monday the new set of rules for dog owners will greatly improve the lives of their pets.

"Without constant socialization and contact, they become bored, lonely and aggressive at times," Stroup said.

The new ordinance bans steel coated chains, that are too heavy and less than three times the length of the dog. Stroup says she rescued a golden retriever before from a heavy chain of about 10 pounds.

"It’s heavy, so when we bunch it up - that weighs a good 8-10 pounds," she said. "The tie out can't be more than 10-percent of its body weight."

The ordinance also requires the tether to have a swivel and outside, food and water bowls that cannot be knocked over.

"Dogs need that hydration factor," Stroup said. "It is so important, hydration and shade."

Some of the other rules state that owners cannot leave their dog tethered for more than three hours per day and they cannot be tethered in an open area.

"Dogs on chains cannot flee," Stroup said. "They are a mark for other dogs that are on the stray and can attack them on a chain in a yard. Also humans, with bad intent."

Stroup also recommends using buckle collars or harnesses -- not clip collars that can easily pop open -- or choke collars.

The Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society and Detroit Animal Care and Control say those who do not comply with the ordinance, could face up to $500 in fines -- and may lose their pet upon a third offense.  But Stroup and others hope to help dog owners with any supplies they may need.

As part of the ordinance, no dog owner shall:

Continuously tether a dog for more than three hours per day.
Tether a dog using a tether made of anything but a coated steel cable at any length less than three times the length of the dog measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail.
Use a tether or any assembly or attachments that amount to more than 10% of the dog's weight or that significantly inhibit the movement of the dog within the tethered area.

Attach a dog to a tether by means of any implement other than a buckle-type collar or harness, so as to risk injury, strangulation, or entanglement of the dog on fences, trees, or other obstacles.

Tether a dog without access to shade when sunlight is likely to cause overheating or without access to appropriate shelter for insulation and protection against cold and dampness when the atmospheric temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tether a dog without securing its food and water source to prevent its being tipped over or spilled by the tether.

Tether a dog in an open area that does not provide the dog protection from attack from people or other animals.

Tether a dog in an area composed entirely of bare earth subject to becoming wet and muddy in the event of precipitation, and without any dry surface area for cover or protection.

Tether a dog under four months old.

Tether more than one dog to a single tether.
Tether a dog to a stationary object that would allow the dog to come within five feet of any property line.

Tether a dog without a swivel attached or equipped at both ends.

Using rope or a metal chain would be a violation. Dog owners who do not comply with the ordinance face penalties up to $500 and possible relinquishment of the dog to animal control for a third offense.

To assist Detroit dog owners in need comply with the new rules; MACS will try to help with supplies, as availability and conditions permit:
Coated steel cable with swivel attachments.
Dog houses.
No-tip water and food bowls.
Enclosures or fencing.

To request assistance, please call MACS at 313-891-7188 or email