Support Community Press

You can show your support of a vibrant and healthy free press by becoming a voluntary subscriber.

Subscribe Now

OUR TURN: Marble Falls ordinance that makes dogs less aggressive deserves residents’ support

Responsible pet owners have an opportunity to champion a proposed new tethering law that forbids tying up dogs when owners aren’t home or the canines are unattended.

The Marble Falls City Council is scheduled to have a first reading on the ordinance and other changes to the city’s animal laws Tuesday.

The tethering law, one of the major reforms, says a dog only can be tied up if it is monitored by its owner or a “responsible person.”

The public should support this measure.

Good pet owners don’t tie up their dogs in the yard and leave them there all day and night. That is not how you treat a pet. Police and animal behaviorists agree.

Studies have shown leaving an animal tied up for hours only makes them more aggressive, which increases the danger to the community.

Police Chief Mark Whitacre and a commission studying changes to the city’s animal ordinances say it is time for Marble Falls to adopt progressive laws similar to ones in bigger cities such as Austin.

The purpose of the public hearing Tuesday is to air the proposed, sweeping changes to the city’s rules for animal ownership and control.

There will be a second public hearing later.

The measure goes beyond the state law on tethering, which allows the practice except from 10 p.m.-5 a.m.

While it’s true dogs are happiest when they are free, that might work out in the country on a large piece of property where a canine has plenty of room to roam. And even that’s debatable if the pet is unruly or aggressive.

But in the close confines of a city, where children and other animals live near each other, dogs always should be under some form of supervision. Doing anything that makes them more violent, such as leaving them tied up all day, is not humane.

Studies by pet-abuse groups also have shown many tethered dogs enjoy less interaction with their human owners.

There are alternatives, including traditional fencing, electronic fencing, building a dog run or a kennel, or keeping them inside until the owner gets home.

Of course, responsible pet ownership also means the dogs have adequate shade, food and especially water.

Naturally, there are plenty of pet owners who think it’s their right to leave a dog chained or tied to a stake or tree all day out in a yard, no matter how cold or hot. In many cases, police are called out to rescue these animals, which often are malnourished, thirsty and neglected.

Being chained outside not only means the animal is at the mercy of the elements, but also susceptible to parasites and disease. And a chained dog does not make a good guard dog; it makes a dog that is mad at everyone, from an owner to a small child.

Man’s best friend deserves better than a life tied to a tree.

The proposed tethering ordinance promotes public safety and responsible pet ownership.

Anyone who cares about a pet and keeping the animal in good health both mentally and physically should not have a problem with this proposal.

Unchaining a dog creates a healthier community — especially for our four-footed friends. Responsible pet owners need to tell the council they back this ordinance.