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The Virginia Senate is expected to vote very soon on a bill that would prohibit the humane tethering of dogs unless the temperature is above 32 degrees or below 85 degrees.

The AKC strongly believes that no dog should ever be kept in a situation where its health or safety is at risk.  However, Senate Bill 827 is so broad that it could prohibit certain instances of humane and safe tethering outdoors.  As written, the bill could restrict outdoor training, events, or even grooming a dog outdoors or keeping a dog temporarily tethered in a person’s yard.  The only exemptions are for an animal “actively engaged in an agricultural or hunting activity”, but it is unclear what this would entail.

AKC believes that specific temperature requirements are arbitrary and do not consider the needs of specific breeds that may thrive in temperatures outside these ranges, or those dogs that may not be able to tolerate even these temperatures.  AKC instead believes that dogs should never be tethered outside in a situation or manner that could jeopardize their health and safety.

What You Can Do:

Those who own or participate in outdoor activities with dogs in Virginia are strongly encouraged to contact their Senator today and ask them to not support Senate Bill 827 as currently written.  If you have a specific example of a situation where you would humanely tether a dog when the temperature is outside these temperature ranges, please be sure to include that in your communication.

To find the name and contact information for your State Senator, visit the AKC’s Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box.  A full contact list of Virginia Senators may be found here.

AKC Government Relations and the Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders are continuing to monitor this bill and communicate concerns to the General Assembly.  For more information on this bill, contact VFDCB at or or AKC GR at