Victory for Dogs: Unattended Tethering Now Illegal in Newport News

PETA, Other Animal Advocates Cheer City Council's Vote to Spare Dogs Backyard Abuse

For Immediate Release:
June 24, 2020

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Newport News, Va. – Following several years of discussions with PETA and the presentation of evidence of extreme suffering caused when dogs are left chained or tied up and unattended, the Newport News City Council voted on Tuesday night to ban the practice, effective immediately. A dog is considered attended only if the guardian is outdoors and within sight of the animal.

The new animal welfare ordinance strengthens the city’s previous law passed in 2014 that allowed up to one hour of tethering—a time limit that animal services found extremely difficult to enforce, leaving residents’ concerns about chained dogs unaddressed.

“Thanks to the city council, dogs in Newport News will have legal protection from being left outdoors and at risk from heat prostration as temperatures soar this summer and storms come our way,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA believes this new law will encourage residents to allow their dogs to live indoors and supervise them when they’re outdoors, just like any other vulnerable member of the family.”

Dogs chained outdoors can become tangled in their chains and die when they can’t reach their food, water, or shelter. Those left outdoors around the clock spend their entire lives in the same few square feet of space, forced to eat and sleep near or even in their own waste, and are deprived of the social interaction that they crave as pack animals. Dogs left outside can suffer from heatstroke in the summer and from frostbite and exposure in the winter. PETA fieldworkers, who work year-round to help neglected “backyard dogs,” regularly find chained dogs with collars embedded in their necks.

PETA urges anyone who sees a dog left outside unattended in the city to call Newport News Animal Services at 757-595-PETS (7387) or PETA at 757-622-PETA (7382).

Newport News joins Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk in banning unattended tethering 24/7. Across Virginia as of July 1, it will be illegal to leave dogs tethered outside when temperatures dip below 32 degrees or soar above 85 degrees and during winter storms, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tropical storms.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind