Fort Worth, TX Regulations for Unattended Tethering of Dogs
Status: Adopted on 1/22/08
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ORDINANCE NO. 17955-01-2008
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 6 "ANIMALS AND FOWL" OF ARTICLE I, SECTION 6-1 "DEFINITIONS" OF THE CITY CODE TO ADD DEFINITIONS AND ARTICLE II SECTION 6-13 "RESTRAINT OF ANIMALS" OF THE CITY CODE TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS AND REGULATIONS FOR UNATTENDED TETHERING OF DOGS; PROVIDING SPECIFICATIONS; PROVIDING FOR EXCEPTIONS; PROVIDING THAT THIS ORDINANCE SHALL BE CUMULATIVE; PROVIDING A SEVERABILITY CLAUSE; PROVIDING A SAVINGS CLAUSE; PROVIDING FOR A PENALTY CLAUSE; PROVIDING FOR PUBLICATION; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, the purpose of Section 6, "RESTRAINT OF ANIMALS" of the City Code is to encourage pet safety and responsible pet ownership;
WHEREAS, the Public Health Department determined that the City Code provisions dealing with the regulations must be amended to meet state law requirements and should be strengthened to provide greater clarity and protection for animal and human safety;
WHEREAS, it is advisable to amend Article III, Section 6 of the City Code to provide additional requirements on restraint of dogs to insure the health and humane treatment of dogs.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF FORT WORTH, TEXAS, AS FOLLOWS:
That Section 6-1 "Definitions." of Chapter 6 of The Code of the City of Fort Worth, Texas, is hereby amended by adding the following definitions:
Direct Physical Control means within the owner's observation and in such close proximity as to permit the owner reasonable opportunity to control the animal, should it become necessary to do so in order to protect the animal, a human or another animal from harm.
Properly Fitted with respect to a collar or other neck restraint means one that measures the circumference of a dog's neck plus at least one inch. With respect to a harness, properly fitted means one that is of an adequate size, design, and construction as appropriate for the dog's size and weight.
Dog Tethering means using a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or other device to attach a dog to a stationary object or trolley system.
That Section 6-13 "Restraint of Animals" of Chapter 6 of the Code of the City of Fort Worth, Texas, is hereby amended to amend subsection (d) and to add new subsections (e), (f), (g), and (h) to read as follows:
- (d) It shall be unlawful for a person to use a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or other device to attach a dog to a stationary object or trolley system.
- (e) It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (d) that the dog tethering:
- (1) is during a lawful animal event, veterinary treatment, grooming, training, or law enforcement activity;
- (2) is required to protect the safety or welfare of a person or the dog, and the dog's owner maintains direct physical control of the dog;
- (3) occurs in the direct physical control of the owner in a designated City dog park; or
- (4) occurs on the owner's premises and:
- a. while the dog is within the owner's direct physical control; and
- b. prevents the dog from advancing to within fifteen (15) feet of the edge of any public street.
- (f) The affirmative defenses provided in subsection (e) are only available if the following specifications are met:
- (1) The chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or other device is attached to a properly fitted collar or harness worn by the dog;
- (2) The chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or other device is not placed directly around the dog's neck;
- (3) The chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or other device does not exceed 1/20th of the dog's body weight;
- (4) The chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or other device, by design and placement allows the dog a reasonable and unobstructed range of motion without entanglement, and
- (5) The dog has access to adequate shelter and clean and wholesome water,
- (g) A person commits an offense if the person fails to comply with this Section.
- (1) An offense under this Section is a Class C misdemeanor. If a person fails to comply with this section with respect to more than one dog, the person's conduct with respect to each dog constitutes a separate offense.
- (2) An offense under this Section is punishable by a fine not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000.00).
- (h) This section does not prohibit a person from walking a dog with a hand-held leash.
This ordinance shall be cumulative of all provisions of ordinances and of the Code of the City of Fort Worth, Texas (1986), as amended, except where the provisions of this ordinance are in direct conflict with the provisions of such ordinances and such Code, in which event conflicting provisions of such ordinances and such Code are hereby repealed.
It is hereby declared to be the intention of the City Council that the sections, paragraphs, sentences, clauses and phrases of this ordinance are severable, and, if any phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this ordinance shall be declared unconstitutional by the valid judgment or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, such unconstitutionality shall not affect any of the remaining phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs and sections of this ordinance, since the same would have been enacted by the City Council without the incorporation in this ordinance of any such unconstitutional phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph or section.
Any person, firm, or corporation who violates, disobeys, omits, neglects or refuses to comply with or who resists the enforcement of any of the provisions of this ordinance shall be fined not more than Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) for each offense. Each day that a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense.
All rights and remedies of the City of Fort Worth, Texas, are expressly saved as to any and all violations of the provisions of the ordinances amended herein, which have accrued at the time of the effective date of this ordinance and, as to such accrued violations and all pending litigation, both civil and criminal, whether pending in court or not, under such ordinances, same shall not be affected by this ordinance but may be prosecuted until final disposition by the courts.
The City Secretary of the City of Fort Worth, Texas, is hereby directed to publish the caption, penalty clause and effective date of this ordinance for two (2) days in the official newspaper of the City of Fort Worth, Texas, as authorized by Section 52.013, Texas Local Government Code.
This ordinance shall take effect upon adoption and publication as required by law.