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Do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered....Lyndon Johnson

Blue Dog State

I'm amazed -- repeat, amazed -- to find NAIA mindlessly repeating animal rights rhetoric.



AR interests have been working since the 70s to outlaw 'choke' collars. If you go to an obedience competition, you'll find almost all competitors - if that's the word - working their dogs on flat collars of some sort.

This would be fine, except that most of these dogs wouldn't have *qualified* in the 70s, much less scored.

Most competitors in the breed are still using some sort of choke collar, and though I'm not sure this is a direct attack on dog exhibition, I don't doubt for a minute that it *is* an attack on choke and pinch collars. Neither is particularly 'harsh', used correctly, but all effective, traditional training methods are now characterized as 'harsh', if not outright abusive.

I think some panic is definitely in order.


are you kidding? it doesn't matter who the law "targets". It only matters what the law SAYS. And the law is clear. Westminster THIS year may be safe.. but all it will take is one grandstanding public official influenced by the PETA "breeders are evil and their shows need to be destroyeD" to USE the law as it is stated to go after show people


Has it really "been known for quite some time" about "tethering"? I thought that the one-and-only authoritative article that's been published (JAVMA ???) showed that tethering, per se, does not affect the dogs' "mental and physical well-being" either favorably or unfavorably...

Where's your link to the article -- peer-reviewed, if possible -- that shows the ill effects of tethering?

National Animal Interest Alliance

@Sheila: You may be pleased find that the peer reviewed Cornell study that's on the NAIA site -- which we often cite when people make statements condemning tethering as the work of Beelzebub -- concludes "There was no indication that tethering was more detrimental to the dogs’ welfare than housing in a pen."


That being said, it is important to note that these were sled dogs, and socialization was involved in the process. It wasn't a study about dogs in urban areas that are staked out in a way that exposes them to free-roaming dogs or to people. It wasn't New York City.

But yes, perhaps the "mental and physical well-being" statement should have been less glib and more generously qualified. Speaking for myself, I do not believe that tethering a dog inherently causes him harm. I do believe, though, that continuously posting a lone dog on a tether in a densely populated area where he is unable to get away from loose dogs, or any other danger poses a much greater RISK to his mental and physical well being than he'd experience in the country or behind a fence in an urban area.

Regardless, it's not like NAIA is some sort of fanatical anti-tethering group. We have never supported an outright ban. But it needs to be recognized as a situational issue where prescriptions for best practices can vary greatly -- especially when you're talking urban vs. rural settings (e.g. our own Pet Friendly Guide actually has more restrictive policy suggestions on tethering than what NYC just passed... but notice the position was specifically for well-populated urban areas).


Blue Dog State

Wow. This just gets better and better.

Now your position is that it's okay to impose laws creating artificial definitions of animal cruelty on "city people" but "country people" can be left alone?

Or maybe its a breed thing? "Sled dogs" are okay to tether, but not "pit bulls"? I think Peter Vallone Jr. might have some sympathy for that point of view.

Vallone doesn't have a problem with double standards, but I didn't know that "city people" and their "not sled dogs" were second class citizens in NAIA's book. What a pity.


There is a difference in the environment surrounding a dog in the city than in a rural setting. I think that is what was meant. Kind of like being in a rural pasture, or sitting in the middle of an LA freeway. It's not so much the dog or chain, as it is the surroundings. A dog on a chain in New York City with lots of not so nice people in many areas, loose dogs and corners to catch chains on does not sound like a safe situation. I can see both sides of this issue. Common sense would be useful here but that died out a long time ago.

I disagree with the way the New York law was written, poor drafting and review, but it looks like they are willing to correct it. Maybe this will be a lesson learned for them. My question is, where were the NY kennel clubs during the process of this law being passed? Maybe they also need to watch a little closer.


It's pretty clear that there is a high correlation between tethered dogs and biting-incident dogs.

Of course there are a zillion reasons why it's not the tether itself that causes the biting.

"Correlation is not causation" as the statisticians say...

National Animal Interest Alliance

@Blue Dog State: "Now your position is that it's okay to impose laws creating artificial definitions of animal cruelty on 'city people' but 'country people' can be left alone?"

Now? Not "now." It's always been our position that animal laws need to be intelligent and flexible enough to deal with differing environments and situations. A law that works in Atlanta may not function as intended (or even be applicable) in Skokie.

Many larger cities have leash laws -- or at least "voice-control" laws -- while places that are more sparsely populated do not. We don't have a problem with this. It makes sense from a public health and safety standpoint.

It has nothing to do with liking one group of people over another, and everything to do with taking the larger picture into account and applying common sense.

"Or maybe its a breed thing? 'Sled dogs' are okay to tether, but not 'pit bulls'? I think Peter Vallone Jr. might have some sympathy for that point of view."

It's not a breed thing; it's a training thing. Sled dogs were mentioned due to the fact that tethering is something they are often introduced to -- in a positive, fun way -- at ten weeks of age. Nowhere did we say "it's not okay to tether pit bulls." Frankly, that's a bit of a cheap shot on your part

@Emily S: that is a fantastic point. We don't believe there is anything in and of itself dangerous or wrong with tethering a dog outside for a few hours a day. Taking the big picture into account, when it comes to aggressive dogs, tethering is often merely a symptom of a larger problem of neglect and abuse -- or, to use your words, a correlation can be drawn between tethering and aggression, but not causation.

T. Leigh

Having resided in both rural and urban locales, I can assuredly say that the extremes of tethering can be observed in both settings. There are proud and responsible pet owners who by necessity tether their dogs for a portion of the day but supply food, water, mental stimulation, and exercise at the appropriate times;likewise there are neglectful owners who abandon their "pets" to the lonely kennel in the back corner of the yard. Perhaps the laws should focus on the less tangible foci of the argument, requiring daily pet/owner interaction periods of specified duration. I imagine a peer reviewed study comparing stimulated/tethered vs. understimulated/kenneled animals would yield predictable results. Methinks the real urban tethering issue is the proximity of the dogs and owners in question to those that could be harmed by a frustrated, poorly socialized animal.


You cannot compare this to leash laws. Leash laws dictate the control of an animal OUTSIDE of the owner's premises. Tethering limits or bans restrict the control of private property (animal) on private property (lot or parcel). No comparison. The fact of the matter is, there is nothing inherently cruel about tethering, but there are related situations, such as embedded collars, lack of shelter, tangled tethers and such which ARE or should be covered by cruelty laws. I'm disappointed that the NAIA is stating in its blog that limits on tethering are quite acceptable for everyone.


Another interesting viewpoint of this that NAIA is not getting, is that subsection b applies to all animals.
So while Westminster is safe this year (as the law does not go into effect until after the show) there are other bigger concerns.
What about the carriage trade? The owners of these horses regularly tether them to a weight while waiting for fares or if the driver has to go to the bathroom or grab a drink or bite to eat, etc. This will no longer be allowed.
What about the zoos with the large animals that have to have links larger than 1/4" thick to be restrained? i.e. elephants
ASPCA is the police authority on this and they are being infiltrated by HSUS former employees that are running rampant and changing ASPCA into a national lobbying organization like HSUS. They can apply this rule and interpret it how they may like and then it is the court that will either uphold their interpretation at the time of arrest/ticket or deny it accordingly.
And of course we have the phrase: "or any rule promulgated hereunder" in subsection d. Which means more rules can be made without having to be signed into law that could 'clarify' when this would and would not be applied. In other words: the people who came up with this knew it was going to have to change once people became aware of it or the judges ruled in court as to its application. This means the law is WIDE open to interpretation and vague from the onset.

Further, what about what passes in NYC appears in the NY state legislature? If so: ALL show livestock will be affected as well as stud farms and racetracks where stud chains are used humanely to control excited BIG animals. What about tying an animal up while giving it a bath at the state fair? These things all will become illegal.

NAIA may hide its head in the sand right now over this, but it is the innocuous language that is very vague that gets the animal owner/trainer into trouble because what would be safe training becomes dangerous because the proper tools have been outlawed. Oh...Wait...that is what the ARs want anyway!

National Animal Interest Alliance

@RobinB: "You cannot compare this to leash laws."

Sure we can. Unfenced, tethered dogs in urban settings present an attractive nuisance to children, a defenseless target for wandering dogs, and a potential threat to public health and safety.

Leash laws came about in order to combat similar threats to public health, safety, and private property (including livestock). The parallels may not be perfectly identical, but it's not like we're dealing with apples and oranges here.

"I'm disappointed that the NAIA is stating in its blog that limits on tethering are quite acceptable for everyone."

Your interpretation is interesting. Are you advocating for continuous, long-term tethering with minimal human interaction as an acceptable method of animal care, or is this more of a legal/property rights issue for you?

@Grace: "Another interesting viewpoint of this that NAIA is not getting, is that subsection b applies to all animals."

Actually, Grace, we commented on the law's language being its single biggest problem in our initial post; we contacted the NYC Council once the law was enacted, and are actively working with them to change the language right now.

We also commented on the ASPCA connection and the problem it would present if the law goes into affect as written.

Please re-read our entry on this topic: everything you bring up is something we are already addressing.


@NAIA - You addressed the problem of the language and ASPCA police authority.
You have not addressed how it can be applied to any animal, only how it applies to dogs.
You are not pointing out that what passes in NYC generally finds it way to NY State Legislature.
Hopefully now that this has been brought up you will let the appropriate organizations know they are in jeopardy also.

National Animal Interest Alliance

@Grace: We have been discussing the "any animal" vs. "dogs" issue and this local law's larger implications at length over the last few days -- but it was NOT something we brought up in the initial blog post. You are correct that we didn't address it there. My apologies.

Regardless, it is something we are aware of and working to fix; the potential for an "any animal" interpretation is something we are actively working to prevent.


@NAIA - Thank You


well, I hope you're not "working" with the NY legislature the same way Bad Rap "worked with" the California legislation on their s/n law... which, for the first time, enabled BSL (mandatory s/n for pit bulls) in California. You're going to get played the same way they did.. and evidently as willingly.

This NY thing is a bad, poorly thought out law. Trying to work with the legislators to "fix" it is a fool's errand. Far better to outright oppose.

National Animal Interest Alliance

@EmilyS: Oppose? This law passed 47-1, Emily. It's a done deal.

At this point, our options are to...

1) stomp our feet, gnash our teeth, and scream about how poorly worded the law is and how wrong-headed the city council was to have passed it as written -- essentially do nothing.


2) utilize the next 80+ days before the law goes into effect to try and clarify its wording, so as to limit the threat it poses to animal owners.

Which path would you suggest?

Blue Dog State

Emily is right.

This law cannot be "fixed" through private conversations and (even more) backroom deals.

It must be repealed.


"1) stomp our feet, gnash our teeth, and scream about how poorly worded the law is and how wrong-headed the city council was to have passed it as written -- essentially do nothing."

sounds right to me.. except that would not be "doing nothing" . It would actually be standing up for what you (I suppose) believe in as opposed to acting like a Quisling. Which stance will yield you more credibility with your own supporters and ultimately more effectiveness?

But it sounds like you've already decided to collaborate.


It doesn't seem like a law has to actually be written to be passed in New York. Everyone's so bent out of shape about the particulars of a law that's clearly not aimed at people walking their dogs, carriage horses, dog shows, breeding stables, etc. I wonder how many of these other animal owners/handlers have any idea there entire livelihood is at stake. Lately it seems like huskies and pit bulls both have it pretty rough. While I agree that vague legislation is risky business for the rights of the people, I'd like to see more acknowledgement that tethering can be a problem due to the likeliness of neglect being part of the equation (it is the cheapest and easiest way, without much thought and planning, to limit the movement of an animal) and solutions presented, especially from those who think tethering shouldn't be regulated. P.S. This is written by someone in the lower income bracket category who owns dogs and doesn't think tethering an animal automatically equals abuse.


First, I think it's a bit ridiculous to accuse NAIA of "repeating animal rights rhetoric". The viewpoint is based on statistics, not emotion.

It's also quite unfair to accuse NAIA of having a bias against pit bulls. NAIA has always taken a strong stance against BSL.

I've been reading this blog because I have a peculiar interest in all the fuss over not only tethering, but the presence of reproductive organs producing dangerous dogs. Many of us grew up tethering our intact dogs and have a complete set of fingers and toes to show for our efforts. Granted, the dogs were not tethered 24/7. My parents spent money on food, clothing, shelter, and the cars. A fancy fence was simply NOT in the family budget. The fence I have around my back yard cost more than any vehicle my parents ever purchased when I was living at home (and yes, that's been a while!).

I have to agree with EmilyS - there are a zillion reasons why the tethering itself is not the problem.

In my heart of hearts, and as a self-confessed Conspiracy Theory fan, I believe the anti-tethering laws are designed to keep the "wrong people" from owning dogs. It's not about the breed at all. It's about the AR agenda of making sure the only people that own dogs are the ones that can afford a $5000 fence, will keep the dogs indoors, and treat them better than the children are treated. How many times have we heard,"Well, if you can't afford a fence/speutering/shots/obedience classes/whatever, you don't need a dog". Wow, I hate to think what life would have been like as a kid without the dogs.

How many of us have spoken to a public servant or politician about a potentially bad law, only to hear, "Oh, we aren't talking about PEOPLE LIKE YOU". Wow, that's great, now I need a yard sign to post on my lawn so animal control understands that I'm exempt from the law.

Sometimes things don't quite work out the way cities intended. Carthage, Missouri passed a tethering ordinance many years ago that was intended to stop people from tethering large dogs. What was the first dog busted under the ordinance? A Pekingese! It was tethered on a front porch and the city probably could have swept the incident under the rug but the dog bit the mailman. Oopsie! Carthage was then faced with piling big fines on Grandma and possibly having her dog declared dangerous and destroyed, and I have a hundred dollars that says that wasn't what they'd planned.

Clearly the lack of socialization of tethered dogs in urban areas combined with people living in close proximity to one another is the bigger problem. some cities do have ordinances that understandably prohibit tethering near utility meters.

yes, Blue Dog State, there most certainly is a difference between rural and urban areas. Granted, a dog can be neglected anywhere but the chances of people being bitten are much higher in an urban area.

I understand the numbers and I understand the logic behind the tethering regulations. But that doesn't mean it doesn't bother me just a bit. It really makes me crazy when cities worry about kids being bitten by dogs while their mothers let the Boyfriend of the Month move in to abuse, molest, and even kill the children. But that's a whole 'nuther discussion topic.


Tethering is not inhumane, for ANY length of time. I am shocked you are regurgitating AR propaganda...do your research. Below you will find mine.

Re: Annie Carlson’s effort to get an Anti-Tethering bill passed in the state of Michigan.

Dear extreme animal rights activists groups, I am not fooled by your propaganda.

Citizens and Legislative Representatives of Michigan and elsewhere, the following are 5 'facts' provided by Anti-Tethering groups they want you to believe:

1. "A study by the AVMA reported that 17 % of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans between 1979 and 1998 were restrained on their owners’ property at the time of the attack.”

**Per this study, the other 82% (!) were UNRESTRAINED on or off their owners’ property. Oh, and by the way...AVMA would like you to know, THEY DIDN'T EVEN CONDUCT THIS STUDY! (Individual investigators did...including some from HSUS).


**Per Sacks, Sinclair, et al (2000): ”Of the 27 fatalities in 1997 and 1998…unrestrained dogs accounted for 23 deaths, while restrained dogs were responsible for 4 deaths.”

**Per lawcore.com: “…and the remainder (only 15%) of the fatal dog bite statistics are made up of dog bites from restrained dogs." 85% percent of all fatal dog bites are from UNRESTRAINED dogs.


2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Study “Dogs most likely to bite are male, unneutered, and chained.”

***This study only looked at 18% of the dog bites reported in Denver county in 1991. This alone makes this statement invalid and inapplicable to even Denver County let alone dogs as a whole population.


On an interesting side note, the CDC stopped tracking dog bites by breed as a risk factor (as this study was) in 1998 as they knew their findings regarding this were not science nor something to be used for public policy...as proponents of breed specific legislation special interest groups were trying to do. AVMA and CDC issued a statement on it. They were tired of these folks using a ten year old study to try to get laws changed. No really, that's what they said. Read for yourself.


3. Fatal Dog Attacks, by Karen Delise:

“1965-2001, 25% were inflicted by chained dogs…” Here they also list reasons dogs attack, tethering not being one of them.

** Unrestrained dogs are again responsible for the significant majority (75%) of fatal dog attacks. Further, tethering isn't listed as one of the contributors to fatal attacks. This is their argument? Ha!

(I can only find a broken link to the study online, seems it's a book for sale now...).

4. The AVMA does not have an official policy or position on the tethering of dogs, regardless of what these groups want you to believe. See for yourself.


However, when this animal rights movement invaded Nevada, Nevada Veterinary Medical Associaiton did take a position on the bill: "The Nevada Veterinary Medical Association has also announced opposition to the (anti tethering) bill, S.B. 132.Â" which "reflects a limit of 14 hours per day for tethering". The Michigan movement is pushing for a far more restrictive bill than that, citing no more than one hour, 3 x a day, with 3 hours in between each tether period. The Nevada bill passed 2009, though AR groups seemed to have protected themselves from the bill with the inclusion of this: "The bill would not apply to dogs...as part of a rescue operation" which many of these groups claim to be. So, it's humane, safe, and legal for them, though not for the general population of Nevada's responsble dog owners.

5. 'USDA states tethering is inhumane.' Really?

**"Persons...who tether their dogs are likely to be using this means of restraint under circumstances differrent than those typical to wholesale and breeding facilities. In these cases, tethering may be a humane method of restraint."

USDA Federal Register


**Study from Cornell University: “There was no indication that tethering was more detrimental to the dogs' welfare than housing in a pen." Yeon, Golden, et al (2001)


Annie argues this law is 'antiquated'...outdated, and needs to be modified. Seems we just paid our legislators in 2007 to take a good look and update it. House Bill no. 4551 introduced in 2007 passed. Effective 2008.



Then, why would Annie use this word 'antiquated' instead of 'updated' or 'modified' to describe this obviously recently modified law? Maybe it's because in Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's State of the State Address on January 19th, 2011, he stated this as one of his requests to the legislature..."Third, we will propose the elimination or modification of antiquated laws." Just a hunch...


Annie also states, "In severe cases, they also may develop deep scars or dangerous infections if their collar becomes embedded in their necks as a result of long-term tethering."

A collar embedded into a dog's neck is the result of an owner who neglects to loosen the collar as a dog grows...whether that dog is kept on a tether, in a pen, a crate, a fenced yard, or a home.

Working with Animal Rights Activist Annie on this effort is Michigan State Director of HSUS Jill Fritz, who is overseeing all legislative and lobbying activities in Michgian for HSUS. Who is Jill Fritz? "Before joining HSUS in 2006, Fritz was the national coordinator of World Farm Animals Day, a project of the Maryland-based Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), and a student coordinator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She was also a radio producer at San Diego's KPBS." Yes, Michigan, you read that right, PETA, FARM, and HSUS. Jill has also operated in CA, MN, and WI.


Jill and Annie were interviewed by the Mid Michigan Pet Experts Talk Show that aired on April 30, 2011 on WILS Lansing. When asked how folks can help and learn more about the missions of HSUS just discussed on air, Jill responded with a different organization. Michiganders For Shelter Pets. Sounds nice. Sounds like an organization that simply donates direct to shelters. When you go to the site you see that if you'd like to contact the group, you can contact Jill. MSP takes donations throught the MI Pet Fund. Money goes to support AR lobby activities...initiatives of HSUS. Why would Michigan Director of HSUS tell folks to go to this organization to help HSUS...instead of the HSUS? Maybe because HSUS has been sued under the Racketteer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act? Maybe because 6 congressmen have requested an investigation into their tax exemption status? I wonder if they think directing their money donations through other 'non-profit' organizations that seem to be organized by them will throw the IRS off their tail? Sure leaves me with a whole lot of questions, you?

To hear the interview online, go to www.wils.com direct yourself to the show's audio recordings.

Now, if this isn't who you want representing you to your legislators, you 'd better speak up.

May 1st, 2011 was the one year anniversary of Naples, FL passing an anti-tethering law. Here's how it turned out: "For Commissioner Jim Colletta, his district has experienced a surge in reports of dog attacks to both humans and livestock last year."

I am not fooled by your propaganda.


Tethers don't abuse and neglect dogs, irresponsible owners do. Abuse and neglect of an animal is already a felony in Michigan. Don't waste taxpayers' money on anti-tethering laws.

Do your own research and contact your lawmakers today, tell them you you know the facts.




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