Educating Buncombe County Commissioners About Dog Chaining
Update on Efforts to Have Our Proposal on the Buncombe County Commissioners Agenda ........ Newspaper Article
As many of you know, we have now been before the Buncombe County Commissioners three times to present our request for our proposal to ban the unattended tethering of dogs in the county. Most recently, at their August 5th meeting, we had over 35 supporters in the audience as I addressed the commissioners. Below is my presentation that debunked their two reasons for their denial of our request.
The only response I have gotten from several of you (commissioners) was a denial of our request based upon two factors.
The first factor was that you feel that Chainfree Asheville should emulate what was done by the Mimi Paige Foundation on the spay/neuter issue…which resulted in the passing of the current requirement.
Let us compare the two. According to the Foundation web site, the ordinance was passed less than three years from the formation of the foundation. ChainFree Asheville built our first county fence for a chained dog in 2008, and was incorporated in the Spring of 2009. Thus, we have been active for more than six years, more than double the time as the Foundation existed before it got it’s ordinance. In comparing educational efforts, the foundation web site states that many of the ads had the message “now that is the law”….so it’s funding was spent after the ordinance was passed. ChainFree Asheville has been in the public’s eye since 2008, spending thousands of dollars with TV and Print coverage, billboards, tabling at countless events, and radio PSAs……all before we have gotten an ordinance.
Clearly, we have met or exceeded the Foundation with pre-ordinance activity and public education.
Your second factor is that our proposed ordinance would place a financial burden on the Sheriff’s budget. That is simply not the case of four counties that have enacted bans in North Carolina. I can provide the names and phone numbers of the officials in Guilford, New Hanover, Cumberland, and Durham counties who were present at the enactment of their ordinance and are still with them today. None of them had a budget or actual increase in costs..in fact one county experienced a reduction in operational costs because of the reduction in calls made relating to the cruelty to dogs.
I concluded my presentation with another request that they place our proposal on their agenda so that everyone can have the opportunity to present their side.....with the confidence that we have the over whelming evidence and support of citizens and local animal welfare organizations. They did not place us on their next meeting date agenda (August 19th) nor it is on their September 2nd date (today). Also, there has been no effort by any commissioner to contact us to discuss our proposal or why we are being denied.
Therefore, today, I have submitted the below article to both the Mountain Xpress and Citizen-Times opinion departments. I do not know how they might edit it, if at all; and I do not know when they might publish the article. I will send out an annoucement via our email if either of them appears, or if I am given advance notice.
Again, thank you so much for your support and please check back with our web site (or sign up for our newsletter if you have not done so) for more developments.
Attention Commissioners: Enact an Ordinance to Ban the Unattended Tethering of Dogs
The time is now for the Buncombe County Commissioners to enact an ordinance that would ban the unattended tethering of dogs in the county. For more than six months, ChainFree Asheville (CFA) has asked the commissioners to take action to improve the safety of its citizens and enhance the welfare of dogs in the county.
During their public opinion sessions at the commissioners’ Board Meetings on February 18th, June 3rd, and most recently on August 5th, ChainFree Asheville has:
· Presented research about the dangers to a community and the inhumane treatment of a chained dog. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, a chained dog is 2.8 times more likely to bite than an unchained dog. The American Veterinary Medical Association urges dog owners to “Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggressive behavior." The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has reported that 17 percent of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans during a ten year period were chained on their owner's property at the time of the attack. The United States Department of Agriculture states, “continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane.”
· Given our commitment to help educate citizens and build fences for dogs of eligible county residents. Since 2008, CFA has built fences for over 125 chained dogs in the county and city; has helped to create and support a smooth transition for the City of Asheville’s anti-tethering ordinance; has spent thousands of dollars on educational campaigns and exhibited at countless public events. We are fortunate to have the financial resources and volunteers to fulfill our commitment to Buncombe County.
· Proposed a better ordinance. Our recommendation is for a ban on the unattended tethering of dogs, with a “transitional phase” of at least 12 months before fines are imposed. The current ordinance allows unattended tethering and requires the Animal Control officer to measure (size of dog, length of chain, any obstructions) and verify that the dog has been taken off the chain to be “socialized and exercised daily”. Our proposal will reduce the time and effort Animal Control officers spend trying to enforce these requirements. Four counties in North Carolina who have enacted anti-tethering laws have reported no increase in operational costs.
· Been given support. Our area is blessed to have outstanding animal welfare organizations and concerned citizens. At the February 18th session, Asheville Humane Society praised ChainFree Asheville for their efforts during the City of Asheville’s ordinance education and enforcement process and urged the Board to enact our county proposal. Brother Wolf Animal Rescue has also given us their endorsement.
The time is now, after more than six months of presentations at public opinion sessions, for the Buncombe County Commissioners to show their support for making this community safer and enhancing the welfare of its animals by enacting our proposal. Continuing to accept the current, unenforceable ordinance makes our county a ticking time bomb for innocent victims and condemns some of our dogs to a 10 foot chain for their entire lives.