- Departments A to G
- Animal Services Unit
- Tethering Ordinance
What Is Meant by Dog Chaining or Tethering?
Chaining or tethering refers to the practice of tying a dog to an object with the intent to confine the animal to a limited space.
What Problems Could My Dog Have From Being Tethered?
Tethering your dog can cause both physical and behavioral problems. Physical problems can include:
- Ingrown collar
- Irritated/raw skin in collar area
- Strangulation or injury from becoming entangled with objects
- Shortened life span
Behavioral problems can include:
- More likely to bite
Are There Laws Regulating Dog Tethering in Other Hampton Roads Communities?
Yes, in addition to Chesapeake, Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach all have laws either banning tethering completely or limiting the time and/or methods under which a dog can be tethered.
What Is the New Chesapeake Tethering Ordinance and What Will the Rules for Tethering Be?
Effective, March 13, 2014, Section 10-22 and 10-22.1 will be law.
No person shall tether or cause to be tethered any dog that is not in the immediate proximity of its owner or custodian except under all the following conditions:
- The owner or custodian is present on the property.
- Such tethering does not exceed sixty continuous minutes.
- The dog is six months of age or older.
- If female, the dog is sterilized or not in estrus.
- The tether does not exceed ten % of the dog's body weight.
- The tether is at least three times the length of the dog from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail.
- The tether allows the dog to easily stand, sit, lie, turn around, and make all other normal body movements in a comfortable, normal position for the dog.
- The tether allows the dog to interact safely with other animals, if at all.
- The tether is appropriate for the age and size of the dog; and attached to the dog by a properly fitted collar or body harness configured to prevent the dog or tether from becoming entangled with other objects or animals or from extending over an object or edge that could result in the strangulation or injury of the dog.
- Only one dog is attached to a single tether.
- The dog is not tethered in a manner to permit the dog to cross and enter upon another's property, except that the same is not unlawful if the affected property owner or person having lawful possession thereof provides consent.
Nothing in the ordinance shall prohibit the tethering of a dog that is in the immediate proximity of its owner or custodian, in a manner that does not cause discomfort, pain or injury to the dog. Violation of this section shall be a class 4 misdemeanor.
Changes to the Virginia State Code Regarding Adequate Shelter, Adequate Space & How That Applies to Tethering:
Effective July 1, 2020 the following changes went into effect regarding the states definition of "adequate shelter". The outdoor tethering of an animal shall not constitute the provision of adequate shelter (a) unless the animal is safe from predators and well suited and well equipped to tolerate its environment; (b) during the effective period for a hurricane warning or tropical storm warning issued for the area by the National Weather Service; or (c)(1) during a heat advisory issued by a local or state authority, (2) when the actual or effective outdoor temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, or (3) during the effective period for a severe weather warning issued for the area by the National Weather Service, including a winter storm, tornado, or severe thunderstorm warning, unless an animal control officer, having inspected an animal's individual circumstances in clause (c)(1), (2), or (3), has determined the animal to be safe from predators and well suited and well equipped to tolerate its environment.
Effective July 1, 2020 the following changes went into effect regarding the states definition of "adequate space". When an animal is tethered, "adequate space" means that the tether to which the animal is attached permits the animal (i) easily stand, sit, lie, turn about, and make all other normal body movements in a comfortable, normal position for the animal. The tether is appropriate to the age and size of the animal; is attached to the animal by a properly applied collar, halter or harness that is configured so as to protect the animal from injury and prevent the animal or tether from becoming entangled with other objects or animals, or from extending over an object or edge that could result in the strangulation or injury of the animal; is at least 15 feet in length or four times the length of the animal, as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, whichever is greater, except when the animal is being walked on a leash or is attached by a tether to a lead line or when an animal control officer, having inspected an animal's individual circumstances, has determined that in such an individual case, a tether of at least 10 feet or three times the length of the animal, but shorter than 15 feet or four times the length of the animal, makes the animal more safe, more suited, and better equipped to tolerate its environment than a longer tether; does not, by its material, size, or weight or any other characteristic, cause injury or pain to the animal; does not weigh more than one-tenth of the animal's body weight; and does not have weights or other heavy objects attached to it.
To report a violation contact Chesapeake Police Department Non-Emergency Dispatch at 757-382-6161.
View information about other City ordinances regarding animals.
Alternatives to Tethering Your Dog
- Bring your dog inside and make him a part of your family. Dogs are social animals and enjoy being with other animals and people.
- Take him for regular walks and outings.
- Crating your dog when you are not at home is a safer alternative to tethering.
- Another option is to fence all or a portion of your yard for the dog. This allows your dog room for exercise.
- If you choose to leave your dog unattended outside make sure he has adequate shelter and access to fresh water.