Leaving your dog improperly chained up can leave them with great pain and discomfort. Chains that are too tight can become embedded in the dog’s skin, and tied-up dogs can be exposed to hazardous weather conditions.
It’s a form of animal neglect that should be a crime — and more and more cities and states have been enacting laws to protect these animals and prosecute owners who leave them chained up in harsh conditions.
Texas made headlines last month after finally enacting a new law making it illegal to leave dogs chained up without adequate protection. Now, Tennessee is working on putting a similar law on the books.
The new proposed legislation — Senate Bill 2243 and House Bill 2860 — is sponsored by Tennessee State Senator Jon Lundberg and Representative Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar, according to WYMT.
The law would make it “an offense for a person to knowingly restrain a dog with a chain, cord, tether, cable, or similar device while a natural or manmade disaster is imminent or occurring,” reads the official proposition.
Those disasters include severe flooding, tornado warnings, or any event in which evacuation orders are put in place.
Leaving a dog tied up during severe weather would be a Class C misdemeanor under the new law, which in Tennessee is punishable by up to a month and jail and a $50 fine.
Tennessee is no stranger to extreme weather. Climate change has reportedly caused an increase in natural disasters from wildfires to winter storms.
“We have seen devastating tornadoes, more so than what we were used to seeing just in the last couple of years throughout Middle Tennessee, in southern Kentucky,” said NewsChannel 5 Meteorologist Henry Rothenberg.”We are starting to see, you know, much more significant wildfires, stronger storms, bigger winter weather events.”
And sadly, too many dogs still get left out in the harsh weather, which makes it important to have a law like this in the books so neglectful owners can be prosecuted and dogs can be protected.
The proposed act would take effect on July 1, 2022. While the law is just a proposal at this point, it seems that many Tennessee animal lovers are already pushing for its passage.
A Change.org petition calling for public support for the law currently has over 670 signatures.
“Currently it is completely legal to keep a dog chained out during extreme weather,” the petition states. “Many of the citizens in Tennessee believe that dogs should be protected from neglect by our state laws. We believe that dogs should never be chained outside in extreme weather.”