ALL TIED UP
UNDERSTANDING “TETHERING" AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
We’ve all seen it – a dog tied up outside of a store while their owner runs in to do a little shopping. It seems harmless, and sometimes, it is. But is it the best option? And is it legal?
WHAT IS TETHERING?
Tethering refers to the act of securing a dog to a stationary object and leaving them unattended. While the term is typically used in reference to keeping a dog tied up in a yard for long periods of time (which is widely considered abuse) — it’s also sometimes applied to temporary situations, like tying your dog to a lamppost while you pop into a store.
IS IT LEGAL?
Yes and no.
Long-term tethering is prohibited in most states, with varying penalties based on the state itself, the number of offenses, and other mitigating circumstances. Most laws do allow for quick tethers, like a trip into a deli, provided that the dog is not left unattended longer than absolutely necessary.
Even still, a short tether is not without risk.
IS IT BAD FOR DOGS?
Dogs are naturally curious and social creatures. They are also natural den animals. They enjoy being free to play and explore, and they enjoy feeling cozy and protected.
The act of tethering is the worst of both worlds: it leaves them exposed to stimuli but unable to move freely, and this can cause anxiety. Tethering also exposes pets to the elements – if it starts raining while a dog is tied up, not only are they stuck out in the rain, they have no ability to seek shelter. The same goes for a hot sun or strong wind.
AM I LIABLE FOR DOGS TIED UP OUTSIDE MY STORE?
The law is unclear on this but two major companies (Shake Shack and Whole Foods) to date have indeed been sued because a dog bit a passerby while tethered to their storefront. This is not a risk worth taking, when there is a cost-effective, hassle-free solution.
"BUT MY DOG IS FINE WITH IT"
Some dogs seem to handle being tethered very well – especially if it’s in a familiar location that’s a part of their routine. However, there are always unknown factors when leaving a dog unattended and exposed in public.
- When dogs are anxious, they sometimes act out, which can manifest as anything from crying or barking to potentially aggressive behavior. This is not the dog’s fault—it is natural for them to lash out if they feel threatened and have no way to retreat. Unfortunately, not everyone (especially a child) understands not to approach an anxious animal.
- Just because someone’s dog seems fine themselves, doesn’t mean passersby are totally trustworthy or predictable. Anything can happen… from dog theft to a reckless driver crashing onto the sidewalk out of nowhere.
WHAT CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY BUSINESS AND DOGS?
The best way to keep tethering at bay is to provide a safe space for your customers’ dogs.
DogSpot is a smart sidewalk sanctuary that you can place outside of your storefront to provide a safe, comfortable, and climate-controlled place for dogs, so customers can leave their dogs outside without tethering. With DogSpot, you can maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone both within and outside of your business.
Interested in making your business more dog friendly? We can help! Please fill out this form below to learn how to reserve a DogSpot for your business.
Chaining and Tethering Dogs: Humane Society
Table of State Dog Tether Laws
Chaining Dogs - PETA