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    Governor Signs Into Law Sen. Lowenthal's Bill Prohibiting Dog Tethering Lasting Over Three Hours

    (Sept. 28, 2006) -- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law SB 1578 by State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D, LB-SP-PV) which prohibits tethering of dogs to stationary objects for more than three hours.

    The bill establishes that any person who tethers, chains, or ties a dog to a house, tree, fence, or other stationary object is guilty of an infraction or a misdemeanor (unless limited exemptions below apply).

    It lets animal control issue a correction warning in lieu of an infraction or misdemeanor...unless the tethering violation endangers the health or safety of the animal; the animal has been wounded as a result of the violation or a correction warning has been issued previously to the individual.

    The law includes exemptions to the tether prohibition (1) to attach a dog to a running line, pulley, or trolley system, so long as the dog is not attached to the system by a choke or pinch collar; (2) to restrain a dog pursuant to the requirements of a camping or recreational area; (3) to restrain a dog for a reasonable period of time [defined below] in order to complete a temporary task; (4) to restrain a dog while engaged in, or actively training for, an activity that is conducted pursuant to a valid license if that activity involves a dog; or (5) to tether, fasten, chain or tie a dog while actively engaged in shepherding, herding of cattle or livestock, or conducting activities directly related to the business of cultivating agricultural products, if the restraint is reasonably necessary for the safety of the dog.

    The bill defines as "reasonable period" as a period of time not to exceed three hours in a 24-hour period, or a time that is otherwise approved by animal control. It also clarifies that the law shall not be construed to prohibit a person from walking a dog with a hand-held leash.

    "Owning a dog can be a very rewarding experience. As a dog owner, I know first hand that having a pet requires a lot of responsibility," said Governor Schwarzenegger in a written release. "This bill helps protect dogs from cruelty, and enhances public safety by preventing aggressive animal behavior that can result from inhumane tethering."

    The Governor recently signed two other animal-related bills:

  • SB 1806 by Senator Liz Figueroa (D, Fremont) makes it a crime for pet owners to carelessly leave animals unattended in vehicles during dangerous conditions, such as hot weather.

  • SB 1349 by Senator Soto (D, Pomona) increases the penalty for causing any animal to fight with another animal to one year or less in the county jail or up to a $5,000 fine, or both; the second offense for fighting animals or roosters can be a felony in some cases, which can bring prison time or a $25,000 fine, or both.

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