published Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

City OKs dog chain time limit


by Cliff Hightower
Audio clip

Chattanooga City Council meeting

It now is illegal to chain, tie or tether any dog in Chattanooga for more than 12 hours.

"It's a horrible way to live, if you can imagine it, living with the weight of a chain around your neck," said Karen Walsh, head of the McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The City Council voted 8-0 Tuesday night to strengthen the existing animal and fowl ordinance. Councilwoman Deborah Scott abstained because she had not read it.

She said that does not reflect her views on tying animals.

"I'm not for tethering animals," she said.

The new law says tethering an animal for more than 12 hours is illegal, that strays must be taken to the shelter and gives allowances for veterinarians to sell city licenses.

Ms. Walsh showed a slide show of animals in the city that had been tied up for months. All the dogs had to be euthanized because of malnutrition or aggressiveness, she said.

Councilwoman Sally Robinson showed the most shock, asking about the pet owners.

"Tell me, which jail are they in?" she asked.

Ms. Walsh replied they were not because the former ordinance allowed tying up animals.

"They need to be," Mrs. Robinson responded.

PDF: Chattanooga Code on animals and fowl

PROPOSED CHANGES

The new animal and fowl ordinance changes several things including:

* Dogs cannot be chained or tethered for more than 12 hours

* Any stray animals must be taken to the McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center

* Veterinarians will be able to sell city licenses and collect a $2 convenience fee

* Pet owners who spay or neuter their animals can get the license fee waived for one year

Source: McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center

In other news, council members will not be traveling anytime this year. The council voted 5-4 Tuesday night to take $19,000 from their travel allowance and use it for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library.

Those opposed were Councilwoman Pam Ladd, Councilman AndraƩ McGary, Councilman Peter Murphy and Councilwoman Deborah Scott.

Ms. Ladd said her objections involved shifting money that already had been spent.

Councilwoman Carol Berz, chairwoman of the budget, personnel and finance committee, said she had no objections because the council was choosing not to travel this year.

Library board member Herb Cohn said all the money would be spent on books.

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