New Yorkers read a witty account of how not to have your dog kidnapped in yesterday’s The Wall Street Journal. Sumathi Reddy, wrote of a Brooklyn couple in desperate search of their missing Yorkie and detailed other tragic tales of dogs gone missing and ransom demands. The missing Yorkie had been tied outside a store prior to being abducted. More coverage on caring pet owners in the Big Apple is a good thing, letting people know a potential pitfall of tethering a dog outside a store is great information but in this full page article could the author have included the simple fact that it is, as of February of this year, against the law in New York City to tether a dog without food or water for longer than 15 minutes?
Questioning just how OK it is to leave a dog tied outside during an errand Ms. Reddy set out to research and write a lengthy article on the practice of both restraining dogs to light poles, parking meters, bike racks, etc. and the growing rates of dognapping. She readily admits that she is no dog person and her sympathies are clearly in the right place, for the dogs and for the well meaning owners to be reunited. The breaking of the law part, that there even is a law is not mentioned. Ms. Reddy is also silent on how being restrained in this manner might affect the dog.
Somewhere in the author’s thoughts on the topic the subject of how this impacted on the animal on the other end of the leash got overlooked, ignored and dismissed. Funny, because anyone who walks by a dog tied up can notice that these pets seldom appear contented and often appear anxious, totally focused on whatever place they last saw their owner. The safe assumption the reader can make from this is that tethering is inherently stressful for a companion animals for a number reasons, so much so that there is a law regulating it (this examiner wrote about NYC’s anti tethering law in February).
So in a postscript to yesterday’s Shortening the leash readers should know that when tieing a dog up while running an errand: in addition to leaving a dog vulnerable to being dog napped, the City of New York restricts all forms of tethering to less than three hours in any 24 hour period and the animal must be supplied with adequate food, water and shelter unless the restraint is for less than 15 minutes. The ASPCA and the health department can enforce the law which imposes fines of up to $500 and 3 months in jail. The law benefits animal welfare as tethered animals are frequently neglected, frustrated and improperly socialized. Now if we could just work on bringing the dog into the store for that errand…
The author is an animal behaviorist, for more information or to contact her visit www.animalbehaviorist.us