Pets on the South Shore are reaping the benefits from two of the California legislature's animal-friendly New Year's resolutions.SB 1578 made it illegal to keep a dog restrained to a stationary object for more than three hours at a time.Robert Gerat, a Lieutenant with El Dorado County Animal Control Office, said that the Meyers animal shelter has already received about 10 calls this month in regards to tethered dogs."Tethering a dog is not a good life for a companion animal," said Henry Brzezinski, Chief of El Dorado County Animal Control.
Studies have shown that chained dogs become anti-social and are more likely to bite, according to the chief. A dog's tether can also become entangled with other objects, and can actually strangle the dog."I can't tell you how many times I've heard about dogs hanging themselves," Brzezinski said.On the opposite side of the spectrum, owners who let pets run completely free may also expose their animals to unique dangers. Coyotes recently took down two dogs in the South Shore area, according to Gerat.Brzezinski worried that by keeping the numbers of these free-roaming pet dogs in check, the agency might encounter more unduly tethered dogs.Although a well-fenced yard is the ideal home for mans' best friend, Brzezinski stressed there were still options for those without the luxury.
"There are exemptions to the tethering law," Brzezinski said, "For example, it is still legal to attach a dog's leash to a pulley line or trolley run, which allows a dog a larger area in which to move." He emphasized that dogs need at least enough slack to lie down while on these lines. Keeping food, water, shelter and a loving touch within reach of a pet is always critical, no matter how the pet is housed, according to Brzezinski.Another new California law, AB 450, requires the Office of Emergency Services to include pets into state disaster plans. This legislation was enacted in order to prevent issues similar to those following Hurricane Katrina from occurring again, according to Brzezinski.Katrina left more than 250,000 pets stranded and struggling to survive, according to news reports.
"We are fortunate in El Dorado County in that we have several animal disaster rescue groups, including Noah's Wish, South County Large Animal Rescue Group and PAWED who work cooperatively with us in times of local disasters, such as fires and floods, when animals need to be evacuated," stated Brzezinski.Brzezinski is hopeful that these new laws will help ensure the humane treatment of animals throughout the county."Each of these laws was enacted to improve animal care and treatment, reduce animal cruelty and provide expanded measures to protect the rights of animals," said Brzezinski. If you know of a dog that is unlawfully tethered, please call the El Dorado Animal Control shelter in Meyers at (530) 577-1766.