State legislators consider dog protection bills

Published 5:03 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

RALEIGH – With high temperatures just around the corner, three bipartisan, PETA-supported state bills that seek to enact stronger protections for dogs who are kept tethered or chained outdoors, often neglected and suffering in weather extremes, have just dropped in the North Carolina General Assembly.

HB 540, sponsored by Representatives Dahle, Ward, Longest, and Harrison, requires adequate shelter for dogs and makes it illegal to tether them outdoors in extreme weather conditions, such as in storms, hurricanes, or tornadoes or when temperatures are below 32 or above 85 degrees.

HB 744, sponsored by the same four legislators, contains the same prohibition of tethering during extreme weather conditions and requires adequate space, including a stipulation that the length of the tether must be a minimum of 15 feet in length or four times the length of the dog, whichever is greater.

SB 719, sponsored by Senator Woodard, encompasses the requirements from both HB 540 and HB 744.

The bills have support from law-enforcement agencies and officials, including Halifax County Health Director Bruce Robistow who oversees the county’s animal control officers. He notes that they would “provide appropriate enforcement for both humane treatment of dogs while also improving the overall safety and public health of communities.”

“Every minute is an eternity for chained dogs left to bake in the hot summer sun and shiver in the cold,” adds PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “These bills would be lifesavers for dogs in the Tar Heel State, and PETA looks forward to working alongside legislators to ensure their passage.”

Every day, PETA’s fieldworkers visit dogs who are chained or penned outside, including during dangerous weather conditions. In 2021 in Roanoke Rapids, the team found a dog named Star dead of heatstroke at the end of a chain in 90-degree heat. Under the proposed laws, it would be illegal to chain a dog during such high temperatures.

Recently, a woman in Windsor pled guilty to charges stemming from the starvation death of a chained dog named Minnie. Just two weeks after her plea, PETA’s fieldworkers found two more cases: two emaciated dogs, one of whom had already died. Charges are pending in those cases, and the passage of these bills would make it possible for local law enforcement to intervene before dogs suffer or perish and to hold abusers accountable for clear, well-defined violations of the law.

Fieldworkers from PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—answer calls for help every day and night, in all weather extremes, from people living in some of the poorest communities in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, where animals have no one else to help them.

For more information, visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.