What’s being done to enforce Nashville’s dog tethering laws?

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There are laws in Davidson County in place to better protect animals including a new tethering law.

It has been in effect for about 6 months. According to the ordinance, dogs cannot be chained up and can’t be tethered in dangerous weather.

News 2 found out not everyone is following these laws. Read More: Nashville ordinance No. BL 2015-1008

We spoke to animal advocate Hibah Qubain, who is on a mission. She wants to help.

Hibah Qubain
Hibah Qubain (Photo: WKRN)

“I have sleepless nights. I’ve cried a million times,” said Qubain.

She said she feels that way because of what she finds when she drives around Davidson County.

“These dogs don’t have fresh water, they are not being fed,” she said. Qubain also pointed out many are chained, violating the new tethering law.

She said more needs to be done to protect animals.

“At least this law should be enforced; that’s at a minimum,” said Qubain.

When News 2 rode along with her, within minutes, we found dogs wandering around unsupervised without tags and leashes, four of which were on Ashton Avenue in Bordeaux.

“None of them have collars on them; none of them had tags,” said Qubain. “No bowls of water that are out.”

News 2 knocked on the door of the home where the dogs were but no one answered.

Seconds later, on the same street, News 2 spotted another dog wandering around without a collar.

“A construction worker is stating that that dog is owned by someone in a house on one of these streets and so basically these people are just letting their dogs run around,” said Qubain.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

On the opposite side of the street, News 2 found a violator of the tethering law.

“You have to have a tether, not a chain,” Qubain pointed out.

News 2 spoke with the owner of the chained dog and asked if they were aware of the new tethering law in Davidson County.

“I don’t know what that is,” said the owner. News 2 explained it to him, and said now that he knows he won’t use chains anymore.

News 2 spotted another person violating the tethering law but when asked him if he was aware of the new law the man answered “yes.”

He said he planned on getting his dog off the chain and into a pen soon.

Qubain said she comes across situations like this all the time in Nashville and wants to know why.

News 2 told Metro Animal Care and Control what was found Tuesday and went back to Ashton Avenue with Metro Animal Control Officer J.D. White on Wednesday.

Nothing had changed. Once again, four small dogs were wandering around with no leash, no tags, and no supervision.

“I’m going to be issuing her a citation for rabies vaccination as well as dogs running at large,” said Officer White.

News 2 spoke with the woman who got the citations she said she deserved a warning first.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

“Somebody is always with my dogs,” the woman said, but News 2 pointed out no one was with the dogs the previous day.

News 2 also noticed the same dog was still on a chain even though the owner said he would take him off the chain.

Officer White said he warned the owners Tuesday after News 2 informed Metro Animal Control about the situation. He said the owner told him she would keep the dog inside until they got a tether.

On Wednesday, Officer White issued a citation for improper tethering.

News 2 also saw a dog jump over the fence of a home and into the street. Officer White seized the dog then spoke with the owners.

“Take her please,” they told the officer.

“Our department is doing the best they can to rectify the situation,” said Lauren Bluestone, the director of Metro Animal Care and Control.

She said the agency is “complaint driven.”

“If we don’t know about something, we can’t enforce it,” she said.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

Bluestone also said officers responded to more than 11,300 complaints in 2015.

“We have budgeted for 10 full time officers, but that is to cover 527 sq. miles, so that’s a lot,” she explained.

Bluestone said that means right now Metro Animal Control doesn’t have the resources to canvass neighborhoods.

News 2 also asked her why pets aren’t automatically taken when people break the law.

She said there are federal laws in place that supersede the local ordinances, but if animals are in imminent danger, they will be seized by Animal Control officers.

Bluestone is also aware that some people are violating the new tethering law.

“Nashville is a growing city so we have people moving in all the time, and it will be a constant educational battle for these new ordinances that come up,” she added.

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