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Proposal to ban chaining up dogs

SAN ANTONIO – City leaders want your input as they work to improve animal welfare, starting with an ordinance proposed Wednesday that would outlaw using chain link to tie up pets.

The problem is widespread, as we found when we drove through neighborhoods.

There was the dog tied up with a rope; much of the slack, tied around a pillar. Another, with a rope connected to its leash.

Then we saw a dog chained to a tree, followed by another dog that was also chained as it sniffed a Bill Miller cup.

Down the street, a dog was chained while taking a nap. Yet another was chained inside its house.

We spotted all six dogs in just 30 minutes.

"It's not pinpointed to a certain area of town. It's pretty much all of San Antonio,” says abuse investigator Aimee Decontreras. "The chain's either too heavy for the dog's body weight [or] no swivel knot, so the dog gets tied up with the chain."

Councilman Roberto Trevino says that sort of treatment does not reflect our city’s values.

"It breaks my heart, quite frankly,” Councilman Trevino says. “You can see the sadness in their eyes. Sometimes they're left out in the weather. Sometimes they're left out with no attention whatsoever."

He’s backing changes to city ordinance. His proposal would outlaw chain-link tethers and make it illegal to tether sick or injured animals, and puppies.

The proposal would require tethered animals to have at least 150 square feet of unobstructed space to roam and put a 14-hour limit on tethering.

Decontreras hopes the plan will spark a citywide conversation about proper ways to keep dogs.

"We want to start making people realize: pets are not just alarms,” the investigator says. “They're there to be part of our family and companionship."

You’ll get a chance to weigh in this spring when Animal Care Services holds several meetings to ask the community which animal laws should be changed.

We’ll keep you posted on Councilman’s proposal.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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