NEWS AND VIEWS: Florida’s lawmakers are set to ban the tethering of pets and leaving them unsupervised. A bill is currently being debated: Senate Bill 650. There is full support on both sides of the house. An influential group voiced their opposition: the National Rifle Association (NRA). A Lobbyist for the NRA, Marion Hammer, argued that many dogs are humanely tethered out of doors rather than being locked up in cages. She also argued that tethering is a legitimate means of keeping your animal on your property. Comment: What is her hidden agenda or is she stupid?
She proposed these arguments despite the clear fact that the vast majority of people in the vast majority of countries on the planet find that tethering dogs to chains outside a property is inhumane. It’s worse than that because it makes the dog aggressive because they can’t defend themselves properly. It also affects their mental health. It must be cruel to do this. It is self evident to any right-thinking person. Florida’s lawmakers are bemused as to why the NRA are objecting.
Despite the objections, it would seem fairly clear that the bill will enter law at some stage in the future. If and when it does, any Floridian caught leaving an animal tied up would get a warning initially followed by a series of escalating fines. A second offence would result in a $250 fine followed by a $500 fine for each offence after that.
The bill reached the Senate Agriculture Committee last Wednesday which is the first stop on the way to become law. It appears that ignorance of how tethering affects the well-being and mental health of dogs is why it occurs. It would be nice to think that some sort of educational program could also be introduced by the bill. Why can’t these laws introduce animal welfare issues into the school curriculum?
A poor education is at the root of all animal abuse. Perhaps I have not seen it reported but I don’t know any school curriculum, anywhere, which includes animal welfare issues. Indeed, why can’t there be a qualification on animal welfare issues which is included in the basic exam list for teenage students? I am being too adventurous no doubt.
Apparently several large counties in Florida have ordinances which already prohibit unattended pet tethering. These include Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward and Pinellas.