The Roswell, GA, City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on an ordinance that would make it an animal cruelty violation to allow an animal to be outdoors when the temperature is below 32 degrees or above 85 degrees. Violator would be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to 60 days.
If enacted, the revised ordinance would read (new section is underlined): It shall be unlawful for any person to tease, molest, bait, poison or in any way bother any animal. Any person who inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon any animal, or tortures, torments, deprives of necessary food, drink, shelter and protection from the weather shall be in violation of this article and punished as provided in section 8.1.26. “Protection from the weather” is defined as bringing an animal indoors if the temperature goes below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The council will also vote on a proposed new section of law that would prohibit tethering a dog unless the owner or custodian is outside with the dog in direct sight. Dogs tethered in violation of the ordinance would be subject to impoundment.
This proposed ordinance has already unanimously passed on first reading (Councilman Zapata absent). It is scheduled for a second vote on Monday, April 23, at 7:00 p.m.
Concerns with the proposed ordinance
The American Kennel Club strongly advocates that dog owners bear a special responsibility to their canine companions to provide proper care and humane treatment at all times. However, this proposed ordinance fails to consider that most animals thrive when housed outdoors in a variety of temperatures.
Further, there is no science-backed justification for requiring that all dogs must be brought indoors when the outside temperature is above or below the arbitrary limits stated in the proposed ordinance. Animals housed outdoors, and animals that are allowed outdoors for purposes of exercise and play, should be provided with access to shade and shelter as is appropriate for their species, age, and condition.
Additionally, the AKC recognizes that tethering is a practical and humane method for training and restraining dogs in a variety of circumstances. Dogs should never be tethered in a manner that could cause harm to them. Tethering is a common and responsible way to restrain dogs that do not respond well to other restraints (such as escape artists), or participate in activities that require acclimatization such as hunting, sledding and/or other obedience and performance events. Tethering may also be a responsible and appropriate option for handling dogs that are service dogs such as seeing eye dogs, dogs in training, and dogs that are being groomed or examined on a table. AKC opposes arbitrary restrictions on tethering, which can undermine the wellbeing of dogs, responsible dog ownership, and safe training and recreational activities.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Residents of Roswell are urged to immediately contact the Mayor and City Council members to express your concerns and ask them to VOTE NO on the proposed animal control ordinance. Scroll down for contact information.
You are also encouraged to attend the City Council meeting to express your concerns:
Date: April 23, 2018
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: 38 Hill Street Roswell, GA 30075
Roswell City Council Contact Information:
Mayor Lori Henry
For more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-816-3645.