Nassau County Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) has proposed a bill that would ensure that dogs are protected from harmful and inhumane restraint.

The Nassau Democrat unleashed his proposal at the Bobby and the Strays Freeport Shelter Thursday afternoon. Called the “Tethering Law,” the bill is intended to address the “common and widespread form of animal abuse which has gone unaddressed for too long. With distressing frequency, pets are tethered, chained, leashed or otherwise restrained in ways which cause them severe pain and physical injury, subject them to dangerously unhealthy weather conditions such as extreme heat and cold, and deny them adequate access to food and water for extended periods of time.”

The legislation goes on to describe the cruel ways pets are unreasonably confined, unable to exercise for their “physical and emotional health and well-being,” and forced to reside in unsanitary conditions, defecating and urinating in the same restricted space where they eat, move and rest.

Nassau Democratic Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) poses with his beloved canine friend Chloe, who he rescued.
Nassau Democratic Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) poses with his beloved canine friend Chloe, who he rescued.

The bill prohibits the use of a “choke collar or pinch collar” that deliberately impairs the flow of oxygen to the pet, or could get embedded in the pet’s skin. It would ban a chain that has links more than a quarter-inch thick. It prohibits a restraining device that weighs more than 10 percent of the animals’ total body weight, not to exceed 25 pounds for any animal. Nor should it be less than 10 feet long but it should not be long enough to let the animal “move over an object or edge that could result in strangulation or injury.”

The bill also comes with a time limit: “No person shall tether, leash, fasten, secure, restrain, chain or tie an animal to any stationary object outdoors for more than two hours in any 12-hour period.”

Someone found guilty of violating this new law would face a maximum fine of $500 for the first offense, a $1,000 maximum fine for a second violation, and a $1,500 maximum fine for a third or more violation.

“I made a goal at the start of 2014 to use any and all of my legislative power to protect animals here in Nassau,” said Denenberg, who is running for state Senate this fall to replace state Sen. Charles Fuschillo, Jr., who abruptly resigned last year. “It had come to my attention that there were some serious voids legislatively as far as protection of pets and I made it my top priority to change that. The Tethering Law I filed today is just another important step toward bringing real justice to animals.”

Denenberg himself is a longtime dog owner and animal advocate.

“I look at my dog Chloe and I just can’t imagine not giving her the room to walk and run when she is outside,” he said.

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