A bylaw to restrict chaining or tethering dogs is being investigated by Township of Langley staff, following a call for action by an Aldergrove resident.
Callie McHardy told the June 29 evening meeting of Township council she was “surprised” to learn there was no such law on the books in Langley when she tried to get help for a dog near her home.
“Just down the street, there’s a dog that’s always chained up,” McHardy told Township council.
Calling the practice “cruel,” McHardy asked for a bylaw, similar to what other municipalities have enacted, against chaining or tethering dogs for a lengthy period of time.
Some Langley dogs are left on a tether, unattended, for 24 hours a day, McHardy said.
“They just live their lives on the end of chains.”
Dogs are pack animals, McHardy added, and they need interaction with humans and other dogs.
Councillors Bob Long and Michelle Sparrow convinced the rest of council to have staff look into the issue.
A report is expected following the summer break at Township council.
The cities of Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, Victoria and the Village of Lion’s Bay have passed anti-tethering regulations.
Langley City reviewed the same issue last year and found tethering restrictions would be “extremely difficult to enforce” and “almost impossible to monitor,” in the words of a March 6 report by Carolyn Mushata, manager of legislative services.
Mushata said the Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) receives one or two complaints a month about tethered or chained dogs in both the City and Township.
Limiting the time a dog can be tethered would be “very difficult” to enforce unless it was banned entirely or only allowed when the owner is in attendance, LAPS predicted.
The Mushata report warned restricting outdoor tethering “may lead to even worse confinement conditions within the interior of the home making the situation almost impossible to address.”
“Regulating confinement and tethering of dogs would be extremely difficult to enforce and is not recommended,” the report concluded.
The City animal control law was left unchanged.
It requires tethering of dogs, aggressive or not, “in such a manner to prevent the dog from leaving the property.”
It does not set any restrictions on the time or method of tethering or size of the confinement area.
But it does ban the use of choke chains around the neck and confinement of a dog in an enclosed space, including a vehicle, without “adequate ventilation.”
The report to City council said provincial and federal laws forbid “unnecessary suffering” by animals, but “the legal test for these offences is high, so it is difficult to bring charges under the current legislation.”