PETA asks Northampton to consider chaining ban

Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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JACKSON – Representatives from PETA are still hoping that Northampton County will enact an ordinance to make living conditions better for local pets.

They presented information to the commissioners during their meeting on April 3 but no action was taken by the board at the time.

“We’re here tonight with the hope that you will again consider working towards better protections for dogs who are kept chained or penned 24/7/365 days a year,” explained Rachel Bellis, Associate Director of Local Affairs for PETA.

“Specifically, we ask that you ban unattended chaining, and implement standards of care such as adequate shelter, adequate space, food, and water,” she continued.

Bellis gave an overview of free services that PETA has helped to provide to the local community, including straw bedding, food, toys, custom-built doghouses, flea and flystrike prevention, and deworming medications. In 2022, she said they provided almost 200 doghouses.

But even though PETA workers are doing all they can to help, Bellis said that a county ordinance to ban continuous chaining of pets could substantially improve their living conditions.

Olivia Rasquiza, who serves as a Community Outreach Liaison with PETA, shared several examples from Northampton County where chained dogs had suffered and, in some cases, died.

When kept on a chain, dogs are often not able to find escape from harsh summer or winter temperatures and other weather elements because they cannot reach adequate shelter. They’re also more likely to not have access to good food or clean water, and they can develop a number of health issues as well.

“Unless an ordinance is passed to protect dogs like these, this kind of misery will continue,” Rasquiza said.

She continued, sharing information from studies that showed how continual chaining leads to more aggressive behavior in canines.

“Prohibiting continuous chaining would not only protect dogs, but would also keep our community safer,” she explained.

Rasquiza wrapped up the presentation by noting that when other localities have passed these kinds of ordinances, PETA has helped to spread the word to citizens afterwards through a number of different methods.

Commissioner Melvetta Broadnax Taylor asked if PETA coordinates any of their efforts with the county’s Animal Control, which is a division of the local sheriff’s office.

Bellis explained that they do work closely together. She also noted that the ordinance would also be a helpful tool for law enforcement to use when reaching out to dog owners to prevent animal cruelty before it happens.

Commissioner Ed Martin asked if PETA had any sample ordinances for them to consider, and Bellis said she would share examples with the county manager.

Board Chair Charles Tyner said that when the issue had come before the board before, hunters had raised concerns about how their hunting dogs would be affected.

Bellis explained that hunters usually do not chain their dogs and probably wouldn’t be affected by the ordinance, but PETA would also be happy to speak with them about any concerns.

Tyner wrapped up the conversation by stating they just want to do what’s best for Northampton County’s citizens, and he thanked the PETA representatives for their presentation.

This isn’t the first time PETA has asked Northampton County’s Board of Commissioners to consider this kind of ordinance. They previously appeared before the board in 2021 with the same request.

At the time, Tyner suggested that they should hear more feedback from citizens before they make any decision on the matter.

PETA also sent letters to the county commissioners in 2019 with the same request, but again, no action was taken at the time.