Citing unpredictable and sometimes extreme weather conditions throughout the year in Virginia, Del. John J. Bell, D-Chantilly, has filed a bill that would prohibit the outdoor tethering of companion animals.
Tethering would be allowed only if the owner of the animal is outside and within sight of the pet, the bill says.
Bell said his wife, Margaret, works to rescue and foster mistreated dogs, and that motivated him to introduce House Bill 1802.
“My wife does animal rescue,” Bell said. “She’s fostered over 50 dogs over the last seven or eight years.
“We’ve seen many instances where animals were tethered for long periods of time in either extreme hot and cold weather. They were unattended and no one was around.
“In fact, we fostered one this year that the authorities had to take, where it was part of a court case. The animal was almost at death’s door. I feel that tethering for extended periods of time, particularly in harsh weather conditions, is cruel to the animal and should not be done,” Bell said.
An owner who violates the measure could be found guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $250. A second offense would be a Class 3 misdemeanor, with a fine up to $500.