The Delaware House of Representatives may soon consider a dog tethering bill that would treat many responsible sporting dog owners as criminals. Your calls are needed today!
As the legislative session nears its close, Delaware’s Senate Bill 211 could be voted on by that state’s full House this week. SB 211 has already passed the Senate, meaning if the House passes the bill, it will be sent to the governor.
Senate Bill 211, sponsored by Senator Patricia M. Blevins (D- Elsmere), would add commonly used dog tethering practices to the state’s definition of animal cruelty. Animal cruelty is a Class A misdemeanor in Delaware. The bill would:
- Prohibit tethering a dog for more than 18 total hours in a 24-hour period;
- Completely prohibit tethering a dog under the age of four months for any amount of time; and
- Ban tethering a nursing female dog if any of its offspring are “present.”
The bill had been previously tabled by the House Committee on Judiciary and was not expected to move forward by the end of session. The Committee reversed course and reconsidered the bill, passing it out of Committee to send it to the full House for a possible vote this week.
An amendment has been proposed that would exempt owners from the tethering ban if they keep their dogs on their own personal property, and if the property is more than 10 acres in size. This amendment would do little for protecting sporting dog owners.
“Sporting dog owners that safely and humanely tether their dogs should not be treated as criminals,” said Jeremy Rine, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance in-house counsel and associate director of state services. “Setting an arbitrary cap on the amount of time a person can keep a dog tethered will only criminalize responsible dog owners and will do nothing to stop bad actors who are treating dogs poorly.”
Take Action! Delaware sportsmen should contact their state representatives TODAY and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 211. Visit USSA’s Legislative Action Center to find your state representative’s contact information.