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City details new tethering requirements

Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 at 8:05 am


The new year is going to bring some changes to the animal control ordinances of the City of Shelbyville.

At the regular December meeting council members voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the amendments for chapters one, two and three of the rules regulations. Stephanie Isaacs was not present.

The new ordinances take effect Dec. 29, 2023, but there will be a 90-day grace period for owners of animals and fowl, or until March 28, 2024, to comply.

It was the second and final reading of the ordinances and a public hearing had been held. Two people spoke to the council prior to the final votes.

Despite the previous readings of the ordinances, discussions among council members consumed a large portion of the meeting.

Council member William Christie wanted to be certain that animals could not be chained and left in the open without proper humane care within city limits.

Under the “Prohibited Acts” the new ordinance states “it will be unlawful for any person to tether an animal unless the following conditions are met:

*The tether is connected to the animal by a properly fitted buckle type collar or a body harness made of nylon, leather or similar material.

*The tether is at least 10-feet long.

*The tether is made of a chew resistant durable material designed specifically for the use of tethering of the specific animal and does not weigh more than one-eighth of the animal’s weight.

*The animal is tethered in such a manner to prevent injury, strangulation or entanglement.

*If a pully line or trolley system is used to tether an animal, the pulley, running lines or trolley systems must terminate on at least one end with a swivel and be at least 15 feet in length and at least four feet, but not more than seven feet above ground level.

*The tethered animal must be at least six months old.

*The animal should not be sick, injured, in heat, pregnant or nursing.

* The animal will have access to shade and fresh, clean, potable water. A doghouse “does not constitute shade.”

*The animal is tethered in a manner that prevents it from reaching within two feet of the property of another person, public walkway or a road.

*If there are multiple animals, each will be tethered separately with minimum distance of at least six feet from each other.

*There should be adequate space for exercise.

Before the final vote on the amendments council member Henry Feldhaus made a motion to amend some of the wording under the tethering requirements.

The original amended ordinance stated, “It shall be unlawful for any person to tether an animal unless the animal is tethered under the direct supervision of a responsible and competent person.” He requested the deletion of “unless the animal is tethered under the direct supervision of a responsible and competent person.”

Feldhaus also asked that the condition that “the responsible and competent person is outside with the animal” also be deleted.

The motions were approved 5-0 by the council.

Any person in violation shall be given 30 days to comply. If violations after the compliance period continue only a citation will be issued. The animal will not be impounded.

Some of the amendments under the fowl portion which includes chickens, ducks, geese and other domestic birds or exotic game birds are:

*It will be unlawful to for any person to maintain or keep a rooster within city limits.

*It will be unlawful for a person to keep or maintain any fowl in an area zoned R-4 (high density residential) or MHP (mobile home park) or any other townhome, multi-family or similar units.

*Fowl will not be allowed to run at large. Fowl must be housed in a coop with a minimum four-square feet of floor space for each fowl. A coop shall not be less than 18 inches in height.