Tether Bill Returns in Virginia Legislature

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Legislation introduced in 2019 by Virginia State Senator John Bell would prohibit an owner from tethering a dog outside between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. It would also prohibit a dog owner from tethering a dog outside in temperatures below 32 degrees or above 85 degrees, even if the dog is accustomed to those temperatures or is a breed specifically suited for those temperatures. Tethering would be prohibited in these conditions, even if the dog has access to shelter, shade or water.


Take Action Today! Virginia sportsmen should call their state senators and ask them to OPPOSE Senate Bill 272. Virginia members can contact their senator by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Directory.


Regardless of the temperature or the time, no dog may be tethered for even a minute if the owner is not home. Many sportsmen use tethers to maintain control of their dogs during hunts, field trials or while training. Under Senate Bill 272, a dog owner would be breaking the law even if the tethered dog was completely healthy and at no risk.

Dog owners who violate the tethering restrictions could face a whopping $2,500 fine and be charged with neglecting to provide shelter for a sporting dog.

“Sportsmen support strong laws to crack down on animal abusers,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “But when you consider the outrageous fine in this bill, it is clear that the real intent of this language is to eliminate the use of tethers. Tethering can actually protect dogs from running at large or from negative interactions with other dogs. They are a commonly used training device for hunting dogs.”

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.