BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing a bill that would forbid pet owners from leaving their dogs tied up outside for more than eight hours at a time.

That includes being tied to a pole, tree or dog house.

The bill requires that any tether used to restrain a dog be specifically designed for pets. It would ban the use of logging chains and other types of lines.

The bill would also outlaw a dog from behind chained, tethered or confined outside between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Penalties would range from a $100 fine for the first offense to a $300 fine and potential loss of the dog to a shelter for the third offense.

The bill is one of dozens being heard Tuesday afternoon at the Statehouse by the Judiciary Committee.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Comments (53)
  1. RJ O'Guillory says:

    I’m not so sure how enforceable this as would be…but I see the point and intent of the proposed law….if you want to try to understand why this law is needed…you should read the Chapter in my memoir, Webster Groves-The Life of an Insane Family. There is an entire chapter in the book related to our childhood dog,..Snoopy & Friends..tells the tale of a remarkable dog…surviving asinine treatment at the hands of my insane parents….

    Read Webster Groves….and then you would vote for this law…


    RJ O’Guillory
    Webster Groves-The Life of an Insane Family

    1. gramps says:

      Think twice,

      Adopt once….


      1. DaddyB says:

        If you go over eight hours, couldn’t you just give the dog an extra biscuit for overtime?

        And what about the cats? Don’t they have rights? ;-)

  2. 1stackmack says:

    sound like a good idea for a inner city environment.but it will never hold water in the rest of the state.some dogs are just fine outside.then again other dogs bark at the wind.this bill would be un in forceable or a waist of time.

    1. gramps says:

      The neighbors will drop a dime….’Guaranteed’!


  3. Dianne says:

    No way should an animal be tied up outside for 8 hours. I disagree with “they are just fine outside”. Someone who would do that should not own an animal.

    1. PPWWLL says:

      We have had outside dogs since I as 2 years old. Outside 365 days a year in New England. They have enjoyed long, healthy lives. Thanks for your tremendous insight.

      1. Tsal says:

        Then you are the exception. The dogs I have known to be outside for long hours spend a good deal of time barking. I have always had dogs. Last thing I want to do is listen to someone else’s bark because it is unhappy.

      2. Dianne says:

        Why would you want dogs to keep outside? I think if the dogs were given a choice, they would prefer to be in and probably not at your house.

      3. boyo says:

        why have dogs if you’re going to leave them outside 24/7 365 days a year?

  4. Dianne says:

    Anyone who would say that a “dog is just fine outside” for 8 hours should not own am animal.

    1. Nab71 says:

      If kept responsibly, it isn’t a problem. It all depends on the breed, location and training. Don’t make a blanket statement like this blanket legislation.

      1. Dianne says:

        Sorry, I have had horses and know how fast water freezes and how the cold effects their coat etc. I can see outside sometimes but 365 days a year is neglect.

      2. Nab71 says:

        I believe your above comment stated 8 hours not 365 days a year. Be consistent.

      3. Jenna says:

        I have a Husky and she loves to be outside especially at nights when it is cold. If she would not be on the long leash she would be roaming out side on the streets because she is an escape artist. It truly depends on the breed of the dog!!!!!!!

      4. Nab71 says:


        You should let your rep and members of the judiciary committee know your concerns. They need to know individual communities need to regulate hours.

        See this link

  5. Marc says:

    Did anyone at CBS proof-read this article or the headline before posting it?

    1. Italo says:

      LOL Marc, this is WBZ, they don’t worry about things such as their stories’ journalistic details.

  6. jean says:

    Seriously?? This is what are illustrious elected leaders are spending their time on? I’ll make sure I remember this in the next election.

    1. Tsal says:

      All being said you are right. Every town has an animal officer. If that person did his job there would be no need for this.

    2. DOT says:

      Jean, if you want illustrious elected leaders that are only capable of handling one thing at a time, then you will have a group of people just above our current Congress. :-)

      I’d rather have multi-tasking individuals in office, myself.

  7. JaniN says:

    Okay, I understand not leaving a dog out for extended period of time, but how does having your dog taken away for you and put into a possible ‘kill’ shelter help the poor dog? I mean, we have so many animals in shelters now that we can’t find decent homes for them. How is this going to help by taking away your property (dog) and putting it into a shelter??? Hit people with a really stiff fine and maybe a court appearance, but don’t punish the poor dog.

    1. tsalnew says:

      I think multiple fines may stop the person – better idea than taking the dog away – with the money put toward saving some in the kill shelters

    2. DOT says:

      For the love of God, just stop with the kill shelter stuff. Did you look or read anything that says they will take a dog out of their current home, and put them in a kill shelter? Of course not. Yeesh!

      You also said don’t punish the poor dog. How about next winter you spend all of your time outside, 24/7, just overnight, while people are working, whatever the situations that you see as really happening.

      I think at that point you’d see the dog is already being punished.

  8. P says:

    Barking dogs are frustrated and bored dogs. Walk him and exercise him regularly and you’ll never have to tie him outside. Put the negligent owner in a shelter

    1. Dianne says:

      You are right!

  9. Nab71 says:

    I understand the intent of the law, well intended but a little unrealistic. I’d rather not see dogs tied or tethered, but it is preferable to running loose in the neighborhood. I assume the 8 hours reflects an 8 hour work day. Works fine if you teleport. Can’t be confined outside before 7:00 AM or after 11:00 PM? Under this guideline when I get up at 6:00 AM and my dogs wake and need to urinate I cannot let them into the 2 Acre fenced area that I have for them. Instead I’ll have to let them urinate in the house in order to meet the guidelines set by someone who sleeps the morning away. This will be a nightmare of local interpretation.

    1. tsalnew says:

      Hi Nab – leaving a dog out all day for the majority means that dog will be barking while its owner is at work. For those of us who work at home or are home for any other reason, it is more than annoying. I have three dogs in my neighborhood who do just that. If you have a dog, train it to wait until you get home to do its business. Or liter box train it. There are solutions that do not affect the entire neighborhood.

      1. Nab71 says:

        Sorry Tsal, I just see too many areas for abuse. I live where I am now because of a neighbor who continually made false reports concerning dog noise after I forced him to remove vehicles that were over the boundary line. Any time a dog barked in the area he reported me. I was even reported for 6 months after my dog died and had to let pol;ice come into my house in the middle of the night to prove there was no dog in my house. This would only become worse under this law.

        Individual towns should make reasonable bylaws that fit their locality, not an omnibus state law.

        If you look at the law it will not stop dogs from being outside for a long period. An approved run or confinement area exempts that. My concerns are the arbitrary hours , one size fits all mentality, and potential for abuse.,

      2. Tsal says:

        Nab have a dog at one end of our street that is left out all of the time. He will literally crouch to stalk a person who walks by and then lunge. He gets lose on occasion and has gone after me with my dog. We have kids on the street. I he’s never been afraid of a dog before but call when he is loose for ovvious reasons. The town does nothing. There is a dog that belongs to a firefighter in the neighborhood who is left out all day and can bark the majority of the day. There is a boxer and a beagle that also bark but they are brought in ASAP. All dogs bark. I know mine does. But not for hours. And no dog should be left out all day when an owner is at work. We never even left our horses out all day or night unless someone checked them regularly. Why would anyone want a dog that they never interacted with. Or barely interacted. That alone is cruel

    2. DOT says:

      Nab71, the alternative isn’t to let them run free if they’re not tied. There are laws about that, too.

      Put the dog inside the house. Not roam free.

      Believe it or not, but people have had jobs while having pets in the past. :-)

    3. DOT says:

      Oh, I forgot. Nab71, your dogs would not have an issue. You let them run free, but cry about a law that speaks of them being tied up for more than 8 hours.

      Yet you used the analogy anyway. Sounds more like a deflection seeing what you were upset about wasn’t part of the new proposed law.

      1. Nab71 says:

        I suggest you actually read all of my posts and look at the actual proposed law.
        “Sounds more like a deflection seeing what you were upset about wasn’t part of the new proposed law.” Unclear what this means.
        “You let them rub free” ?? Within the fenced area that exceeds the guidelines of the legislation.

        There are laws about dogs roaming free, leash laws, in most localities. There is not a state leash law. The 351 cities and towns can adopt their own bylaws to fit their conditions as should be the case with this situation.

      2. Tsal says:

        As I said before this would not and should not be necessary if the dog officers did the job they are paid for. When the dog on our street that I mentioned above mauls a child I guarantee the dog officer will be the most surprised person in the world

  10. Rob Cleary says:

    As America circles the bowl under the misguided leadership of Ballsack Hussein Obysmal, This is what Americans are worried about? Dogs?

    You should be nice to your dog, You may have to eat him soon just to survive.


  11. John says:

    This is another stiupid and unenforcable law made by elected officials who will not tackle any real problems. This is a nanny state and will continue to be one because these people keep getting re-elected time and again. There are a LOT of dogs that saty out with a dog house for shelter and thrive. A lot of hunting dogs live outdoors and perfer it. My family has had hunting doge that wouldn’t stay in the house for more than 15 minutes and wanted to be back outside. My brother has a huskey mix that when givien the chance to sleep inside because of storms, spends the night howling and barking because he is not outside. Some nights he will sleep on the ground in the snow instead of his dog house with blankets. Now the state will fine my brother because he is giving the dog what it wants???? People mind your own business and stop thinking you know what is right for all!

    1. Nab71 says:

      How right you are. Two Springfield legislators are trying to make rules that affect the everyone in the entire state. My guess is some constituent has a perceived problem with a neighbors dog and the legislators have filed a bill to mollify them. If this passes the false complaints by neighbors with an axe to grind against a dog owner will be rampant. The most unrealistic parts of the law are the hours. Why 8 hours? Unrealistic for someone who actually works. Will an owner be watched to measure the time? Even if an owner meets the confinement guidelines they are not allowed to put their dogs in the area before they go to work. Unlike legislators most people are on their way to work before 7:00 AM. If I let my dogs out before 7:00AM in their 2 acre fenced area that is surrounded by 200 acres of conservation land I am subject to fine? It would all depend how stupid the enforcing authority is.

    2. tsalnew says:

      I know that some prefer to be left out. However, the majority who leave their dogs out do not have dos that would chose that option. It’s why they bark all of the time when out. So when all dogs who are left outside stop barking constantly – day and night – then your brother can be left alone.

      1. John says:

        According to the law people like my brother would not be left alone…his dog could be taken away from him…plus where does the fine money go to????? People we have all the laws on the books already that we could possibly ever need, including animal cruelty laws. We don’t need the state to direct and tell us how to live EVRY aspect of our lives, including telling us what we have to buy to tie out the dogs.

  12. Responsible Pet Owner says:

    I think your points are all well intended, but are missing the main point. The legislature is referring to dogs tethered and chained for more than 8 hours. If you have a fenced yard or are lucky enough to have acres and acres of land for them to run in a safe, secure, fenced in environment with shelter (dog house, shed, etc.) to get out of the elements (sun, rain, snow, etc.), then this wouldn’t affect you. It’s for folks who chain their dog to a tree all day. They then wrap themselves around it, can’t get loose, and are literally pinned to the tree until someone comes to relieve or rescue them.

    1. Nab71 says:

      All true except for the arbitrary hours and possibility of abuse.

    2. Tsal says:

      I know of four instances where a dog has strangled to death while feathered on a certified dog teacher. If you want a dog at least create the proper environment

      1. Nab71 says:

        Hi Tsal
        Everything that you have mentioned points to the fact that any regulation needs to be local. In your, community which I assume is somewhat congested there may be a need for a regulation that limits dogs to an enclosure in the back yard away from the street. That’s always the smartest, and common sense It sounds like that’s not the case. The town is given that authority by the state already. This bill changes nothing concerning actions that would control the dogs you mention. It will still be up to local enforcement.Besides that ,the best thing for those individual dogs is another dog as a companion, but that’s no good if the owners are not at all responsible.Do I want to see dogs tethered? No, I’d rather see them in a fenced area or failing that on a cable run as prescribed by this bill. A tether is still preferable to biting your kids or dead on the side of the road in the towns that will still have no leash laws under this bill. Should dogs have no interaction? Of course not. Again my biggest issue is that a law should fit the community. I hate the one size fits all mentality. In my town it is absurd that under agricultural provisions which I support the neighboring farm is allowed to begin using equipment at 5:00 AM but would not be allowed to have his dogs in an enclosure until 2 hours later under this bill

      2. Tsal says:

        Good points nab and as I said if local dog officers did their jobs this would not be necessary. And it should be by community. It’s another case of a ignoring the fact that people are not oing their jobs

  13. H Sedovsky says:

    As a pdog owner who would not tie up their dog outside I agree with the bill. I hope it becomes a law. Leaving a dog tied up for hours on end is cruelty. People need to know there are consequences for being cruel to animals just like humans. the current laws are too leinent.

    1. Dianne says:

      I agree. People who would leave dogs tied up for all those hours outside in all of the elements should not have them period. I don’t care if some have done fine, they are neglected, no question.

      1. John says:

        Ignorance runs deep in this state……I bet you all agree with the town wide smoking ban in Grafton as well…..Blanket statements and zero tolerence policies are just stupid. But the high and mighties and all the righteous do- gooders in this state knows what is best for everyone, which brings it back to why these goos for nothing imbeciles on becon hill get re-elected over and over again….quick everyone…you can re-claim TED KENNEDY’s seat this fall! Some will see the sarcasm in this post….unfortunately most will feel vindicated!

  14. Dianne says:

    If treating dogs ihumanely s ignorance, I guess I am ingnorant. If lawmakers pass this, I will be happy with them.

    1. John says:

      You are ignorant…we have all the animal cruelty laws we need, most towns pay an animal control officer very well to enforce those laws. It is not inhumane to let certain dog be left outside. Maybe the little toy city dogs that you think are mainstream, i can see, but heavily coated husky type dogs and most hunting dogs prefer to be outside and thrive in it. Your one rule fits all approach, just as with ALL zero tolerence apporaches are stupid….and most people that live and die by them are even more stupid. Just look at the administrators running the public schools and you can see it plain as day. well maybe you can’t

  15. Jenna says:

    If my Husky would not be outside most of the nights she would eat half of the house because she loves the fresh cold air and does not say one word :)

    1. John says:

      Exactly my point….but oh no, sucks to be you. Massachusetts elitists know what is better for your dog. Suck it up honey and deal with it. You are an animal abuser and should be executed immediatly. I am going to recommend a law that says ALL dogs must be procided raingear if it is raining out, sweaters if it gets below 50 degrees and if your dog pees on a fire hydrant you must pay to have a biohazrd team to come rope off the area and clean it up!!!!

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