Oneida County Legislator Gerald Fiorini is sponsoring a law that would restrict the tethering of dogs in Oneida County.

The law would make it illegal to keep an animal tied up outside for more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period, restrict the use of choke-chains and pinch-collars and set regulations on the length of tethers and amount of shelter and water needed.

Penalties for a first offense would be a written warning with an educational component given at the time the warning is issued.  The second, third and fourth offense fines range from $100 plus reimbursement of investigation costs to as much as $2,000 for repeated violations and/or 150 hours of community service and surrender of the dog if ordered by the court.

Fiorini explained why he decided to make the first offense a written warning instead of a fine.

"I would rather give the dog owner a chance to use the fine money to purchase the proper leash, collar or shelter for the dog that makes them compliant with the law," Fiorini said. "Also, the educational component teaches the owner the proper way to tether their dog."

The proposed law would also make it illegal to keep an animal tied up outside during any extreme weather alert.

Fiorini noted that tethering does not include the use of a leash to walk a dog.

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