COURT HOUSE - Under a new law signed into effect last week, dogs can no longer be chained or tethered outside overnight between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., Shore Animal Control (SAC) announced in a release.
If a dog is chained for more than 30 minutes during the day, they must be fixed to a lightweight chain or rope at least 15 feet long, and have access to sanitary water and sufficient shelter.
When it comes to inclement weather, dogs must not be tethered longer than 30 minutes unless the owner is present.
SAC has already issued numerous warnings and summonses for dogs in violation of these new state regulations.
“It is unfortunate that these outdoor dogs have been neglected this long," stated Manager Linda Gentille. "These new laws will help protect these former outdoor dogs. The state is giving residents a grace period to come up with a solution, such as a heated kennel, fencing with pet doors, etc. We are trying to work with residents on solutions that comply with the new laws.”
SAC received dozens of calls last week for reports of outdoor dogs in distress in many parts of Cape May and Atlantic counties. Two of their animal control officers also work as Humane Law Enforcement Officers for the Atlantic County SPCA.
“We have been out in the freezing temperatures last week looking for outdoor chained dogs with frozen water," stated Officer Chelsea Lippincott. "It is a shame that people will get a dog and think that they can just chain them to a tree.
"I am very pleased with these new laws and it gives us much more ability to help these outdoor dogs. We thank all the residents who have been calling us day and night with reports. Without these calls, we would not be able to find all of them.”
To report animal neglect in Cape May County, call local police, who will advise animal control.
Residents of Lower and Upper townships, Woodbine, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor and North Wildwood can contact SAC at 800-351-1822.