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A new bill, introduced Thursday by Nassau Legis. Dave Denenberg, would prohibit the tethering of dogs outside for more than two hours at a time and would put limits on the weight and length of the chain fastened around the animal’s neck.
The bill, which largely matches legislation signed into law in May in Suffolk County, would crack down on dog owners who leash their canines in dangerous and unhealthy conditions for lengthy periods of time, said Denenberg.
“No one wants to be chained to something that’s more than 10 percent of their body weight,” said Denenberg (D-Merrick) at a news conference Thursday at a rescue shelter in Freeport surrounded by dogs and animal advocates. “And, no one wants to eat where they go to the bathroom. We wouldn’t do it. It’s inhumane.”
Denenberg, who is running against Legis. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) for the State Senate in the vacant 8th District, called on Republicans in the legislative majority to schedule the bill for a vote.
A spokesman for Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) did not respond to requests for comment.
The legislation would make it illegal to restrain or tie an animal to any fixed outdoor structure for more than two hours in any 12 hour period. The bill cites potential dangers to the animal’s health, access to food and water and unsanitary conditions.
In addition, chains shorter than 10 feet in length, which weigh more than 25 pounds — or are more than 10 percent of the animal’s body weight — would be banned. Chains and tethers that restrict oxygen or blood to the animal, or that could become embedded in a dog's skin, would also be restricted.
Elizabeth Stein, a New Hyde Park-based animal welfare attorney, said while there are no concrete statistics on the number of dogs inhumanely tethered in Nassau, “we know it occurs on a daily basis.”
A first violation is punishable with a maximum fine of $500; a second violation would escalate the fine to $1,000 while a third violation would garner a $1,500 fine.