Delaware Tethering Bill Passes Senate

Share Button

Legislation prohibiting the tethering of a dog for more than two consecutive hours has passed the Delaware Senate by a vote of 15 to 4. Senate Bill 139 would also make it illegal to tether a dog for more than nine hours during a 24-hour period, even if the dog owner is present. SB 139 will now head to the House where it will be assigned to a committee.


Take Action Today! Delaware sportsmen and women should call their state representative and ask them to vote NO on SB 139. Members can find their representative by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Center Directory.


Senate Bill 139, which also addresses animals left outside in severe weather, was introduced on June 7.  The Senate Health and Social Services Committee held one hearing on the bill, which was also the day they scheduled it for a vote. As a result, members of the Senate were never able to hear the concerns of sportsmen about the tethering provisions of the bill, and how they actually can be dangerous for hunting dogs. 

Many sportsmen utilize tethers to help train or acclimate their dogs to weather conditions they will face in the field. This actually helps prevent hypothermia, heat stroke or dehydration that can occur in unconditioned dogs. Retrieving dogs often swim in water during the dead of winter and need to acclimate to slowly dropping temperatures. Likewise, pointing dogs are active during cold times, but also run great distances in the warm early season. The same can be said for scent hounds pursuing raccoons. Not properly acclimating dogs to their working environments is wholly unfair and far more dangerous to the animal.

Anyone violating the law could be charged under the state’s animal cruelty laws and face up to one year in jail and/or a $2,300 fine, and even be forced to forfeit their dog.

“Senate Bill 139 will actually endanger hunting dogs and criminalizes commonsense training tools used by many sportsmen and women,” said Luke Houghton associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “We call on the members of the House to take the time to consider the concerns of hunters and field trialers who love their dogs. It’s much more important to get a bill like this right, than to rush it through without input from those impacted.”

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.