Regular readers of FAL are likely familiar with prior posts on the problems associated with keeping dogs chained up outside. Chaining can lead to aggressive behavior and dogs that are more prone to bite both people and other animals. As a result, several communities around the State have already banned chaining or significantly restricted its use.
Needless to say, it would good to have state-wide legislation on the subject, so I was pleased to see that a bill was introduced in the Florida House of Representatives this past Wednesday that would address the cruel chaining of dogs. It was sponsored by Representative Bill Heller, who is also the president of the Tampa Bay SPCA, according to their website.
The legislation would add language to Chapter 828, Florida Statutes, that would punish any individual who "[l]eaves a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog's movement . . . ."
The proposed legislation defines the phrase "restraint that unreasonably limits the dog's movement" as a restraint that: "a. Uses a collar that is pinch-type, prong-type, or choke type or that is not properly fitted to the dog; b. Is shorter than the greater of five times the length of the dog, as measured from the tip of the dog's nose to the base of the dog's tail, or 10 feet; c. Is in an unsafe condition; or d. Causes injury to the dog." The legislation would also punish individuals who restrain a dog, regardless of the type of restraint, outside when a hurricane, tropical storm, or tornado warning has been issued for the jurisdiction by the National Weather Service.