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Local Resident Pushes for Stricter Animal Ordinance, Seeks to Outlaw Dog Tethering in Troup County

UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect that Kettler is currently pushing for a change in current animal ordinances in regard to chain weight regulations and shelter requirements. Additionally, it is of note that these ordinances are passed on a city-by-city basis. Kettler, who does wish to see an end to all dog tethering, has since clarified that she is not tackling the issue of a complete abolition of the practice at this time. 

Evie Kettler, founder of Paws4Chainge, has a message for Troup County:

It’s time to do better.

Kettler, who recently urged the LaGrange city council to adopt stricter animal ordinances, praised the 2015 adoption of regulations that banned direct-point tethering throughout Troup County.

However, her ultimate goal is a complete abolition of unsupervised animal tethering throughout the county—including tethering animals to zip lines and other non-stationary objects.

It’s a move, she notes which has been accepted in other cities across the nation—and one she believes is just the right thing to do. It’s also one that will take time.

For now, she’s looking for the abolition of heavy chains on trolley systems–an issue she brought forth in front of LaGrange’s city council.

“It’s time for the City of LaGrange to hold owners responsible and accountable for humane and proper care when they choose to bring a pet home,” she said in an address to the city council. With her, she brought a 9.5 pound chain that she said was used to secure a 40 pound dog to a trolley system.

“Based on the weight requirements in our ordinance, this would be allowed on a trolley system,” she said to the city council. “Twenty-five percent is far too heavy for any size dog.”

She also encouraged the city to regularly inform citizens of the current laws that ban direct-point tethering in LaGrange. Hogansville and West Point also have similar ordinances banning the practice. The laws are passed on a city-by-city basis. Troup County also has its own separate ordinance.

Her non-profit organization Paws4Chainge has worked to build fences for tethered dogs, and the work has provided her a first-hand look at the conditions in which tethered animals are forced to live.

“Dogs who are tethered have no defense,” she said, adding that female dogs in heat are often attacked by roaming strays and neighborhood dogs. This, in turn, leads to puppies being born—puppies no one takes care of.

“None of these animals are spayed and neutered,” said Kettler, noting that of all the dogs she’s rescued, only two had been fixed—and those only because they had been adopted from a shelter.

The issue points to a bigger underlying problem.

“These animals have little-to-no vet care,” Kettler said. In her defense, she referenced a letter from the Humane Society Veterinary Association, an association of nearly 9,200 vets nationwide—including 300 in Georgia.

“Dogs who are continually tethered endure boredom and loneliness and suffer immense psychological damage,” an open letter from the association read.

Kettler, who stated she has spent several sleepless nights worrying about this animal-tethering issue, emphasized her gratitude to animal control and the governing bodies of Troup County for the effort they have already put in.

“Animal control is doing a good job of doing the best they can do with current laws,” she said. “It’s just time that as a county we step up and raise the bar [and continue to improve conditions for animals].”

Residents are encouraged to report the illegal unsupervised direct-point tethering of dogs to animal control—especially as weather conditions in the coming months can prove fatal for unprotected dogs. Direct-point tethering is the tying of animals to a stationary object—such as a tree.  Currently, having dogs on a trolley or zip line system is legal—but with the efforts of advocates like Kettler, this, too, may soon be outlawed.

Kettler’s non-profit Paws4Chainge works to build fences for dogs that are chained or on trolleys. Its work, she says, that brings pet owners closer with their dogs—and that has even led to eleven dogs being moved indoors.

In order to continue their work, Paws4Chainge is actively looking for volunteers. Those interested can contact the organization directly at paws4chainge@aol.com

The author of this article can be reached via email at info@troupcountynews.net.