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Anti-Chaining Legislation Passes in Richmond
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
By: Maya Erhardt

Tougher law gives law enforcement more authority to go after animal abusers.

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As you have likely seen on the news and read in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, last night the Richmond City Council passed an ordinance that will prohibit dogs in the city from being chained or tethered for more than one hour, cumulatively, within any 24-hour period.

The Richmond SPCA together with Richmond Animal Care and Control has been instrumental in crafting this ordinance since its inception, working with Councilman Doug Conner on multiple drafts to ensure that the ordinance would be an effective measure to prevent dogs from being cruelly neglected on chains and protect the public from aggressive dogs. Motivated by my February 9, 2007 guest editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which called for anti-chaining ordinances among other measures to address the problem of aggressive dogs, Councilman Conner approached us about creating such an ordinance.

Many Richmond SPCA supporters, members of the Board of Directors, and staff were present last night to show support for this important measure. I am deeply gratified that this ordinance received support from so many concerned groups and individuals. Moving testimony was heard from victims of aggressive dog attacks and from neighbors of people whose dogs suffer in isolation at the end of a chain. Many speakers remarked on our moral duty to protect those who cannot speak for themselves - children and animals - and not exploit them or expose them to danger.

Dogs that live their lives on chains are not only a danger to themselves and vulnerable to theft, attack and injury, they are also an extreme danger to the people around them. I am proud that Richmond has set an example for surrounding counties that may be considering passing tougher animal cruelty laws. This is by far one of the most progressive anti-tethering ordinances that exists in Virginia.

Last night’s vote marks an important turning point in Richmond’s public policy, and public opinion, regarding companion animals. The days when they were looked at as disposable property with no rights to humane treatment, socialization, or proper medical care are, I hope, over. Richmond City Council sent a message, loud and clear, and law enforcement now has a stronger mandate to educate and prosecute people who continue to neglect and abuse their animals. Thank you for your ongoing support, which has made victories for animal welfare possible in our community.


Robin Robertson Starr
Chief Executive Officer
Richmond SPCA


More about this topic: 

"Richmond council OKs dog ordinance"inRich.com
"Richmond Council passes one-hour dog law"NBC 12
Contact the Richmond SPCA's Behavior Helpline for help with housetraining or other pet behavior issues >>
Contact Richmond's Animal Care and Control Division >>
Read the ordinance in its entirety >>
Encourage similar legislation in your own locality >>