TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) – Ward 5 Councilman Buddy Palmer suggested an ordinance banning the practice near the end of a March 20th work session.
Palmer said he received two calls recently and saw for himself two dogs chained, “on top of a doghouse,” in 27-degree, rainy weather.
That prompted the city council member to suggest an ordinance making tethering a finable offence.
The U.S. Humane Society defines tethering as, “the practice of fastening a dog to a stationary object and leaving them unattended.”
It also adds that ropes and light chains are typically used in instances of tethering. Chaining can also be used interchangeably, but typically refers to practices where heavier chains are used.
Palmer said he believes most dog-owners, and members of the city council share his sentiment towards tethering.
“The ones that disagree? I don’t know. Maybe we ought to get a chain and put them outside. Maybe,” Palmer joked.
The next step for the City Council is to approve or reject an ordinance that will be proposed by a committee of three members: Buddy Palmer, Chad Mims (Ward 1 Councilman,) and Janet Gaston (Ward 6 Councilwoman.)
Palmer said they’ll meet with a legal team and review cities that have similar ordinances in place to draft one they believe will best fit Tupelo.
Then, it’ll be for the council to decide on. And Palmer believes it’ll be a yes.
“I think it’ll pass unanimously,” Palmer said. “So, I think we’ll do well with it.”
After talking with four separate dog owners at Ballard Park on Wednesday (March 23,) it seems that at least a few pet owners do agree that tethering should be a punishable offence in the five-time All America City.
“I don’t think they need to be chained. I mean you can have a fenced yard and they can be outside but I just don’t think that an animal should be chained up. It’s, you know, they’re pets,” said Meredith Black, a long-time Tupelo resident and dog-owner.
Another local dog-owner, Jan Daugherty, said she wants people to be able to learn a lesson through any actions taken by the city.
“My thoughts are they should be fined, but we don’t want to discourage a good pet owner if they will take care of their dog and that is taking, you know, keeping track of them,” Daugherty said.
Johnny Cook, one of the co-owners of Jo’s Cafe in Tupelo, said that to some extent, caring for pets is a lot like caring for children, in that the animals truly need their owners.
“I mean, if you own an animal nowadays, you need to be responsible. Take care of it. They can’t take care of themselves, they can’t feed themselves,” Cook said. “So, you know, if you do have an animal – a cat, dog, or anything – it should be kept up and loved on. That’s what they’re here for.”