COLUMBIA — No dogs should be tethered while unsupervised by their owners, Melody Whitworth, *area representative for Dogs Deserve Better, said at Thursday's Board of Health meeting.
Whitworth and 25 others turned out for the meeting at the Department of Public Health and Human Services to discuss proposed changes to city ordinances regarding feral cats and tethering animals. The board was looking for comments to improve the proposed changes.
The proposed changes would make the following illegal:
- Tethering an animal as the primary method of restraining it to any property.
- Tethering an animal using a choke collar.
- Tethering an animal without using a properly fitted collar or a harness made of nylon or leather.
- Tethering an animal without using a tether of appropriate length and weight for free movement that includes swivels at both ends.
Although residents said they were pleased with the proposed tethering guidelines, some expressed concerns that the laws were too subjective.
The goal should be to eliminate gray areas in the ordinance, attorney Michael Whitworth said.
Other changes to the ordinance would require any pet that is impounded three times to be spayed or neutered before being released.
Liz Burks — a volunteer for the Central Missouri Humane Society, an organization that houses and spays or neuters stray animals — said she would propose spaying or neutering the animal after two impoundments.
Another part of the proposed changes would force feral cat owners to follow a number of regulations, including paying $25 for a permit.
Christina McCullen, caretaker for the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program, expressed concerns about the proposed fees for taking care of feral cats.
“These cats are a man-made problem," McCullen said. "I’m concerned about the financial burden and regulations affecting those people who step forward and do something about it.”