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SMITHFIELD — Town council members approved a tethering ordinance presented by Police Chief Keith Powell on April 2. The ordinance permits dogs to be tethered certain times of day as long as owners are monitoring the animals.
Powell first presented the ordinance at the March 5 council meeting. The council decided to table it for 30 days to allow time for residents’ comments.
The council changed the ordinance to no longer allow animals to be tied, chained, fastened or otherwise tethered to any object as a means of confinement unless the owner monitors the animal. The ordinance allows for animals to be tethered during specific times, weather permitting. Animals must be in an approved enclosure.
Mayor Andy Moore asked that the ordinance not permit dog tethering from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
During the public comment period, two residents supported the new tethering rules.
I’m very appreciative of it,” said Darius Rose. “I know it’s pretty broad and if there’s anything rescue groups can do to help, please let us know. Thank you for considering it.”
Rose said his only concern about the tethering ordinance is enforcement.
“I don’t want to see people shamed on social media,” said Rose. “Any change is better than none. The tethering issue is bad. Anything’s better than current situation.”
“It’s exciting to see (limiting) ordinances come along like this,” said Joan Centauro of Four Oaks. “I’ve been in animal rescue for five to six years and see things that are disheartening. Those are the extreme situations.”
Centauro said she’s volunteered with several rescue and animal transportation groups.
“It’s a community outreach. We try to work with homeowners so they can keep their pets,” Centauro said. “We go to the homeowner without trying to create friction. Some people can’t afford fences and we build fences for their dogs.”
Centauro said what the organization can do is based on fundraising and donations.
“We spend a lot of time with animal owners to keep their pets,” said Centauro. “How do you get the info out? What time frame do you give them to comply? We can help get the word out about the changes.”
“I’m proud to be a part of this council to vote in favor of this tethering ordinance,” said Councilman David Barbour. “It demonstrates that we care about animals and all of God’s creatures.”