New Ordinance Aims to Protect People and Pets

Attention pet owners: It’s time to untether your animals.

A new city ordinance makes it a crime for owners to leave a dog tied up and unattended, which animal advocates say can lead to aggressive behavior.

“We want Arlington to be a place where people can walk down the street and feel safe,” said Ray Rentschler, the city’s animal services field supervisor. “We also want it to be a place where animals are treated well and cared for properly.”

Owners caught leaving their dogs tied up unattended will be given a warning and 24 hours to correct the violation. After that, violators can face fines up to $2,000.

The new ordinance comes after an elderly woman was attacked earlier this year by a tethered German shepherd mix. The dog, which had appeared friendly, left severe bite wounds on  the woman’s arm and knocked her to the ground, fracturing her hip.

That is not an isolated case, city officials said. Tethered dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite than other dogs, studies have shown.

Using a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable or any other device to restrain an unattended dog is no longer allowed. Owners can, however, restrain their dogs while they are outside with them, for example, working in the lawn or washing the car. Handheld leashes are still permitted.

Area cities, including Fort Worth, North Richland Hills and Dallas, have adopted similar ordinances.

Also in the ordinance:

The sale of puppies and kittens in commercial parking lots will no longer be allowed.

Racing pigeon owners must obtain a city permit and undergo inspections.

Animals caught in traps must have access to food and water until animal services arrives.

Residents who move or are evicted from a house or apartment cannot leave behind their animals, which city officials say has become a problem in recent years.

“We want to make Arlington a safe place,” Rentschler said, “For people and pets.”

To report any animal ordinance violation, call 817-459-5898.

View the ordinance

By Sarah Bahari