New dog safety law effective November 17th

Violations can be reported after Nov. 17

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A new law pertaining to dog safety will be effective November 17.

The new law states that an owner may confine a dog outside in a secure pen with dimensions of at least 100 square feet, or a fully fenced, electronically fenced, or securely enclosed yard, or a trolley system or tether or pulley in a cable run, provided that only one dog is tether to each one; the harness attached to the tether is not a choke or pinch collar, and has enough room to fit two adult fingers between collar and throat; there is a swivel on at least one end of the tether.

The tether and cable are at least 10 feet in length and the cable is mounted four to seven feet above the ground, it is configured so that it will confine the dog to the property; not result in strangulation; and not become tangled with objects or animals, and the dog can reach clean water and appropriate shelter.

Two exceptions to the above provisions:

  • If the dog is camping or in a recreational area; or actively engaged in sheepherding or other conduct related to the agricultural business
  • A person shall not leave a dog outside for more than 15 minutes when there is a weather advisory, watch or warning is issued by authorities; or outside condition pose a risk to the health or safety of the dog based on the dogs breed, age or physical condition.

The law prohibits an owner or keeper from chaining or tethering a dog:

  • Outside for any length of time if under the age of 6 months
  • If six months or older, for longer than 5 hours within a 24 hour period
  • Dogs cannot be tethered outside between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. unless:
    • The tethering is for less than 15 minutes, and the dog is not left unattended by the owner
    • The tether must be designed for dogs
    • May not weigh more than 1/8 of the dogs body weight

A fine not more than $50 for the first offense, not ore than $200 for the second offense, and not more than $500 and impoundment of the dog in a shelter and/or loss of ownership for the third offense.

For more information, click here.