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Update: Hampton considering dog chaining regulation

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Posted at 10:18 PM, Jul 11, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-12 03:51:39-04

Update: Council members decided not to allow any dog tethering in the city. Residents will have 6 months to comply. It was a unanimous vote.

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Hampton City Council is expected to vote on a regulation limiting how long dogs can be kept chained up outside at its meeting tonight.

The city first began considering placing a time limit in December.

The proposal at that time would have limited time outside to 8 hours; however, many residents argued that was too long.

The city also discovered putting time limits would be tough to enforce.

"Unless the animal control officer is there for the 3-hour or 8-hour time period, you can't really go to court and prove that the dog was on a chain the whole time," explained city spokeswoman Robin McCormick. "There's no way someone can stand outside a home and monitor it for that amount of time."

Instead, the proposal that city council will vote on would prohibit tethering outside between sunset and sunrise.

It would also require that the owner either physically be present while the dog is chained or get a permit from the city.

The city would make sure that the dog is licensed and has access to food, water, shelter and space to move around in a visit by an animal control officer before issuing the permit.

McCormick says the proposal Hampton is considering was drafted after receiving input from neighboring cities. "Norfolk and Virginia Beach both implemented the 3-hour time period and reported that it was very tricky to enforce, so that's why we made the change in our recommendation." 

Hampton also conducted a survey on dog tethering which 57% of respondents replied saying that tethering should not be allowed at all.