Following a movement that is gaining ground throughout the state, the City of Globe will consider whether to enact a rule making it illegal to “tether” a dog for extended periods of time.
The city will also explore whether there are sufficient resources to hire an animal control officer in a move that would supplant a 2014 agreement with Gila County Animal Control to provide those services.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, a national animal rights and advocacy organization, tethering or “chaining” is “the practice of fastening a dog to a stationary object and leaving [the animal] unattended.” Chaining refers to the use of thick, heavy chains, and tethering is the use of a rope, lighter chain or pulley.
HSUS also states that tethering is bad for dogs and sometimes makes them more aggressive, since they are not socialized as well as indoor dogs. Tethering can also leave dogs more vulnerable to diseases and attacks by other animals, or even people.
Tethering ordinances are becoming more common throughout the state, despite the absence of state laws, and last year’s enactment of an ordinance in Payson has brought the issue even closer to home in Gila County.
The Payson ordinance sets out strict guidelines for animal treatment, limiting the number of dogs to four and banning residents from tying dogs to a tree. It also goes into detail on everything from fence height, to tethering, shelter and food.
Further, dogs can only be tied to a “trolley system,” a cable that must be at least 10 feet long, mounted four to seven feet above the ground and only between the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The issue really took off in Globe in late July, when a dog in the Hackney Avenue area near the Globe Cemetery died after its chain became tangled, eventually choking the animal to death.
The July 25 incident came after repeated calls to Gila County Animal Control, part of the Office of Health & Emergency Management.
“We have been to the property numerous times after neighbors complained,” H&EM Director Michael O’Driscoll said at the time. “But every time we responded the dog was fed, had water and sufficient shade. The owner is devastated by the loss.”
The Globe Police Department responded to a call that day, but officers found the animal alive and with sufficient food and water.
By the time animal control was called to the scene later that day, the dog was dead.
An outcry on social media ensued, but in the absence of legal recourse, there was nothing the GPD or the county could do to alleviate the situation or hold the owner accountable for the animal’s care.
So last week (Aug. 14), several members of the community descended on the Globe city council meeting, asking the city to adopt stricter guidelines and consider hiring its own animal control officer.
Councilmember Charlene Giles, who owns a dog grooming service that provides pro bono services for the High Desert Humane Society and the Globe Police Department K-9 program, led the charge for the changes.
“[There’s] a petition to get an anti-tethering ordinance with a couple of hundred signatures,” she said. “I think that’s needed in our community because the county doesn’t have one.
Historically, the city has not had an animal control officer due to the cost associated with the position, but the current council is revisiting the situation and will address it at its Aug. 28 regular meeting.
“The message we’ve received from the community is that we have to do something,” Globe City Manager Paul Jepson said.
In addition to the recently enacted Payson ordinance, in 2016, the City of Phoenix passed a law that prohibits tethering animals with a rope, chain or leash less than 10 feet long to a stationary object and then walking away. Animals can’t be tethered at all during a storm, below-freezing temperatures or when the heat exceeds 100 degrees.
Arizona does not have a statewide tethering law, but several states have laws that address tethering. They vary from state to state, with some allowing an owner to tie a dog up for a “reasonable period,” while others specify the safe manner to chain a dog, such as requiring the chain to be a certain length and many require a dog have access to food, water and shelter.