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Tethering a dog to a stationary object, such as a pole, tree, doghouse or fence is a crime under California law, Health and Safety Code 122335. This is one of several animal cruelty and abuse laws in California.
Police officers do enforce dog-tethering ordinances.
Dog tethering violations are sometimes charged as infractions. Illegal tethering of a canine as an infraction can result in a $250 fine for each dog so tied.
Charges of illegal tethering as a misdemeanor can result in a $1000 fine for each tethered dog and possibly six months spent in county jail.
Some exceptions to dog-tethering laws are the following:
1. Tethering the dog to a running line system in which the leash moves along an upper wire for movement. The dog must not be wearing a choke or pinch collar.
2. The dog is tied up via regulations for a camping or recreational area.
3. The dog is tethered for no longer than three hours within a 24-hour period.
4. The dog is tied up because of a training facility or dog show.
5. The dog is temporarily tethered for safety, such as during agricultural endeavors or to avoid the street while an owner does business in a marketplace. This tethering must be within a three-hour time period.
Dogs have spent their entire lives neglected on the end of a chain. Laws are made against tethering because this environment is cruel to dogs, who are social and need exercise to be happy. Chained dogs can become fearful and aggressive, and very bored. A Center for Disease Control study found that tethered animals are twice as likely to present danger of biting, and they can become the victims of predatory animals or strangle themselves in the tether. Dogs have developed infected sores where collars rub. The dog can be forgotten on a tether, and denied food and water. This is why tethering a dog is legally judged to be inhumane.
Responsible pet owners are sometimes shocked to find that they are being charged with the crime of animal abuse. Dogs sometimes need to be restrained for their own safety and the safety of others. It is often difficult to recall the exact length of time of a tethering, particularly if an errand is being performed. It is also difficult to know how to restrain a dog who is ill and creating messes in the house while the owner is away. Therefore, the dog may be tethered and the owner risk violations for animal cruelty.
If you feel that you broke an animal abuse law pertaining to tethering in an innocent and temporary way, you need to consult with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. As a responsible pet owner, you may have broken the law unknowingly. In that case, a criminal defense lawyer can work towards convincing the prosecutor to drop the case or charge you with an infraction.
For questions about Health and Safety Code 122335, or to discuss charges of animal tethering violations, please contact a Los Angeles criminal lawyer today.