Charleston to consider making dog tethering illegal

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 7:45 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2022 at 5:27 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston is reviewing its animal cruelty rules and is expected to present new guidelines to the city council that, among other things, would make tethering illegal.

Tethering is the practice of tying up an animal to restrict its ability to move.

The exact language of any proposal has not yet been released, but the idea has some traction with people like Virginia Ellison.

She started an online petition before she knew the city was working on making tethering illegal. She says leaving dogs tied up outside in hundred-degree temperatures is animal cruelty.

“I thought that chaining animals in Charleston was already illegal and considered inhumane until I was recently was exposed to someone in my community who chained their dog 24/7 in all types of weather - in the heat like today,” Ellison said. “It is cruel to the animals. They depend on us for their physical and mental wellbeing, and it’s our obligation to take care of them.”

Tethering has been made illegal in other cities. Most recently, Georgetown approved banning the practice in April.

Meredith Jones is the medical director for Pet Helpers, a 501(c)3 adoption center and spay/neuter clinic in Charleston. She says leaving dogs tied up can be extremely dangerous.

“They can get tangled up in the tethers . . . which can cause all sorts of wounds and pretty serious issues with their legs, tails, even death if they get caught up too much and strangulate themselves,” Jones said, noting that sometimes the tethers and collars become imbedded in the dog’s flesh. “It requires a lot of supportive care, sometimes surgery to fix that, and a lot of time the dog has some variation of a scar for the rest of their life.”

Pet Helpers also runs a program called Unchain Charleston that helps pets with fencing and dog houses, so pets don’t have to be tethered when they are outside.

It is unknown when the changes to the current ordinance would be sent to city leaders.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.