Keeping Rover from Roaming

By Jim Rogers, Editor

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 may be easily overlooked as the community rushes out of a holiday and into the everyday of life. However, the day may serve as a key moment in creating good neighbors and a better life for outdoor dogs. The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act (Senate Bill 5) went into effect Tuesday.

The law requires that unattended dogs are tethered in a manner that keeps them and the people around them safe. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. Dogs may be tethered attached to a cable-tie out or trolley system, while in public recreational areas, while herding livestock or assisting with farm tasks, while hunting or participating in field trials, and in an open-air truck bed when the owner is completing tasks. Heavy chains cannot be utilized to tether the animal.

The law also ensures dogs have access to drinkable water and are not trapped in standing water or any dangerous substance. Preventing exposure to extreme weather, the state law removed the 24-hour waiting period that previously prevented animal control and law enforcement officers from taking immediate action. Law officers may now assist tethered dogs in distress as soon as they arrive on the scene. Restraint must be humane. The health and safety of the animal must be taken into consideration.

The City of Winnsboro is fortunate to have an active animal control unit. The officers work diligently to provide service to capture straying or unwanted animals. With a no-kill shelter, their workload increases as they seek to adopt out the dogs and cats they take into the shelter. Although the number of no-kill shelters are increasing, their numbers are still limited.

County residents on the other hand face greater issues. Wood County has no animal control unit. Sure they round-up the often ditch-grazing, wandering onto the highway cows or horses but dogs and feral cats are a different story. Too often the rural choice is to kill the unwanted animals that stay on to one’s property. 

Perhaps properly tethering the animal would enable your neighbors to live in peace and keep Rover from roaming in both city and county.