February 10, 2010
Dogs may only be tethered only under certain circumstances and only if specific requirements are met.
Section 1. Cruelty to Animals.
a) No person shall cruelly mistreat, abandon, or withhold proper sustenance, including food, water, shelter that protects from the elements, exercise, or medical treatment, necessary to sustain normal health and fitness or to end suffering or abandon any domesticated animal to die, or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly leave an animal unattended and confined in a motor vehicle when physical injury to or death of the animal is likely to result, or ride an animal when it is physically unfit, or injure any animal for the purpose of making it perform for a person’s amusement, or cruelly chain, tether or confine outside any animal or use, train or possess any domesticated animal for the purpose of seizing, detaining or maltreating any other domesticated animal. b) Exceptions. Nothing in subsection (a) of this section shall be deemed to prohibit 1) Any action by licensed veterinarian done in accordance with accepted standards of veterinary care; 2) Any action taken by a law enforcement officer pursuant to the interests of public health and safety; 3) Any act done in self-defense or done to defend another person or animal.
Section 2. Tethering of Dogs
a) Tethering: it shall be unlawful for any person to tether, fasten, chain, tie, restrain or cause a dog to be fastened, chained, tied, or restrained to houses, trees, fences, garages or other stationary or highly immobile objects by means of a rope, chain, strap or other physical restraint for the purpose of confinement, except in circumstances where all of the following requirements are met:
1) The tethering shall be no longer than necessary for the dog’s caretaker or owner to complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be physically restrained for a reasonable period of time;
2) The dog is visible to the responsible party at all times and the responsible party is outside with the dog; provided that for a period not exceeding fifteen consecutive minutes in any period, for a total of no more than four such periods in a twenty-four hour period, the dog may remain out of the sight of the responsible party, while that party conducts a temporary task;
3) The dog must be properly fitted with and wearing a non-choke harness or collar made of leather, nylon, or similar material. Choke, prong, martingale or greyhound collars shall not be used;
4) The tether must be attached to the dog’s harness or collar and not directly to the dog’s neck;
5) The tether must be at least 10 feet long, free from tangles and weigh no more than 1/8 of the dog’s weight;
6) The dog is tethered so as to prevent injury, strangulation, or entanglement;
7) The dog is not tethered outside during extreme weather, including, but not limited to, extreme heat or near-freezing temperatures, thunderstorms, tornadoes, or floods, unless adequate food, potable water, shade, shelter and protection is provided, as provided in section 3 below;
8) The dog must be at least 15 feet from the edge of any public road or sidewalk;
9) The dog is six (6) months of age or older;
10) The dog is not sick or injured.
b) If using a pulley, running line or trolley system, all the conditions of subsection (a) of this section must be met, and:
1) The running line or trolley system must be at least fifteen (15) feet in length and at least four feet and no more than seven (7) feet above ground;
2) If there are multiple dogs, each dog is tethered separately;
3) The dog(s) must be tethered at sufficient distance from any other objects to prohibit the tangling of the cable, from extending over an object or an edge that could result in injury or strangulation of the animal and be of sufficient distance from any fence so as to prohibit the dog’s access to the fence.
c) Exceptions. Nothing in subsection (a) or (b) will be deemed to apply to restraint:
1) Of hunting dogs. As used in this Paragraph, the term “hunting dog” means a dog actually used to lawfully hunt game in West Virginia or another State of the United States under a valid hunting license issued by the State where the hunting occurred during the then present year or the year previous, and with respect to a dog of less than eighteen (18) months of age, a dog that has had training toward hunting lawful game in West Virginia or another state of the United States. The owner of the dog relying on the dog’s status as a “hunting dog” under this paragraph may establish a prima facie case of such status by providing to a law enforcement officer with a sworn written statement setting forth the specific facts establishing that the dog is a “hunting dog” within the meaning of this paragraph.
2) Temporarily utilized during any lawful training activities, veterinary treatment, grooming, or law enforcement training;
3) Temporarily utilized when the animal is being held, walked, or exercised on a hand-held leash;