City Of Mississaga Passes Dog Tethering Restrictions Bylaw

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As we enter the “most wonderful time of the year”, we’re also heading into the coldest time of the year and for many animals that are tethered in their yards for long periods of time, it’s a dangerous season that some won’t survive.

While the City of Toronto’s animal Services is looking at the possibility of introducing tethering time restrictions as part of a review of their existing bylaw (next Spring!), I am proud to say that my City of Mississauga has already stepped up to the plate when it comes to safeguarding our furry citizens.

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I was fortunate to sit in on the discussions and consultations surrounding this issue last year and the outcome was not only a time limit to how long your pooch can be tied up outside but also that you must be with him if he is tethered in an area other than your own back yard or that he be in plain view at all times. It also states that you cannot use a choke chain or prong collar when tying him up for a period of time and that the tether must be at least three meters in length (9.84 feet)to allow your pooch to move safely and unrestricted if he needs to reach shade or safety. All this, in addition to the four-hour by-law limit that precludes him from being stuck out in the yard when you head off to work or for a day of shopping.

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In the U.S., dog tethering bylaws have attracted mucho attention because of their stringent guidelines and penalties. In Fairfax County, Virginia, residents can face steep fines and even jail time if they are caught leaving dogs tied up outside unsupervised for more than one hour.

Oshawa’s city council is going to vote on a regulation similar to Mississauga’s in early December and Len Butticci, a member of the board of directors with the Humane Society of Durham Region is a leading advocate for this bylaw change. According to Butticci, it’s important to get “something” in terms of a law to protect dogs. “What we see are many cases where collars are embedded into their necks. Where they’re choked. Where they’re kept outside during cold winter days, and hot summer days without adequate food and shelter.” As a result, he will pursue a time limit of one hour – albeit without the Fairfax County-inspired jail time.

Elizabeth Glibbery, manager of Toronto Animal Services, said the department will be holding public consultations on the issue as “For the last two years, we’ve noticed an increase in complaints with respect to tethering and the length of time an animal is tethered.” Mostly for pets on private property.  Shame it can’t happen before the snow flies, Liz!

Animal advocates throughout North America are targeting local bylaws in a bid to end this cruel practice which they point out, can lead to aggressive dogs.

I guess it’s really down to the basic “fight or flight” theory – if you feel threatened and know you cannot get away, fight is the only option. What a sad existence for man’s best friend.


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