Animal rights advocates want tougher laws to ban tethering

Animal rights advocates want tougher laws to ban tethering

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - An animal rights group wants to change laws in Brunswick County to keep owners from tying their animals up outside for long periods of time.

"People that tie a dog to a tree or a dog house and leave them their entire life, that's what's unacceptable and that's what we are finding in this county," Kimberly Sherwood, president of Advocates for Animal Rights, said.

AFAR asked commissioners to make changes to animal cruelty ordinances. Under the current laws, an owner in Brunswick County would be charged with animal cruelty if their pet was wearing a "collar, rope or chain embedded in or causing injury to the animal's neck."

Sherwood wants to ban tethering, defined as the tying or chaining of dogs that restricts movement, in hopes of preventing unnecessary harm to the animals.

"We don't want it to be, 'You are being cruel to your animal because his collar is embedded in his neck,'" Sherwood said. "We want to get in front of that. We want to prevent that from happening in the first place."

In neighboring New Hanover County, keeping your dog tied up in the yard is banned unless you are in the yard with it at all times.

"The dog is overexcited and can hurt himself or get caught up on something and hang himself and that's what the ordinance is in to address," said Lt. Jerry Brewer with the NHC Sheriff's Office. "(Animal service deputies) are going to get out and investigate to find out why the dog is tied up, cause it shouldn't be."

Sherwood says she has spoken in front of commissioners during public speaking periods but denied a spot on the agenda to give her more time to state her case.

Commissioner Pat Sykes issued a statement:

"Our current county ordinance provisions enables law enforcement to address any reported cruel treatment of animals. Our Sheriff's Office, Animal Services Office has done an outstanding job in administrating the ordinance. I will continue to support our current ordinance."

Sherwood said she feels as if she's exhausted her political options. She started a petition to change the laws that has nearly 4,000 signatures in two weeks.

AFAR also has a breakfast planned for 8:30 Sunday morning at Willoughby's off Ocean Highway East for people to join the push for new legislation and sign the petition.

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