Fast Tracked: Delaware Bill Restricting Tethering

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Delaware dog owners could see more tethering restrictions in the state after legislation prohibiting the tethering of a dog for more than two consecutive hours has passed the Delaware Senate Health and Social Service Committee by a vote of 3 to 0. The measure, Senate Bill 139, would make it illegal to tether a dog for more than two consecutive hours, regardless of temperature or time of year, or for more than 9 hours over a 24-hour period.

SB 139 is expected to have a full Senate floor vote as soon as this week.


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


SB 139 has clearly been fast tracked, as the measure was introduced 10-days ago and has already been voted out of committee. Members of the Senate Health and Social Service Committee, as well as Senate leadership, are giving little chance for sportsmen to have their voices heard.

Many sportsmen use tethers to train or acclimate their dogs to weather conditions they will face in the field. By properly acclimating dogs slowly to these conditions, will not suffer in the field or be at risk due to high or low temperatures and conditions. Additionally, the bill would make it illegal to keep a dog outside for more than 15 minutes when a severe weather advisory is in effect.  

Current Delaware law allows for tethering of a dog for 18 hours in a 24-hour period. Under SB 139, violators of the new 9-hour tethering restriction would 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.

“The actions of the Senate are making it pretty clear they do not want to hear the voices of sportsmen, hobby breeders and responsible dog owners on how overreaching this bill truly is,” said Luke Houghton associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Clearly this bill is being driven by politics with little regard for how this bill will negatively impact dog owners.”

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.