Dog left in Kent County

This dog was found buried in his doghouse in April. A Kent County woman removed the dog, saying it had been tethered for an extended period of time. Proposed regulatory changes would limit how long dogs could be tethered outside. (Nicole Thebeau/Submitted)

The New Brunswick SPCA is supporting proposed changes that would stop dog owners from leaving their animals tethered 24 hours a day.

The Department of Environment and Local Government announced on Friday it was proposing regulatory changes to the SPCA Act that would put new rules on how long dogs could be tethered outside.

Owners will no longer be able to tether dogs outside between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. for more than 30 minutes "unless the person is outdoors and within 25 m of the dog."

The provincial government is not imposing restrictions on daytime tethering.

Hilary Howes, the executive director of the New Brunswick SPCA, said the proposed reforms are a good first step.

Hilary Howes

Hilary Howes, the executive director of the New Brunswick SPCA, said he supports the end of unlimited tethering. (CBC)

“What it does really is it breaks the cycle of 24/7 tethering and I think that's the goal of animal advocacy groups and the New Brunswick SPCA in dealing with tethering issues is getting rid of that abusive practice,” he said.

Howes said the SPCA will need more financial support to enforce the tethering rules, as they will have to increase the number of officers to respond to night-time calls.

The provincial government has posted the proposed changes on its public consultation website and will now allow a 28-day feedback period. If the reforms are approved, they will come into force on Dec. 1

Among the other proposed changes is an amendment that would allow the SPCA to act more quickly when animals are locked in cars during hot days.

There is a growing problem of people leaving pets in their cars on hot days, Howes said.

 “Now they're talking about if the inadequate ventilation is reasonably expected to threaten the animal's health, then we have a greater authority to act,” he said.

The SPCA executive director said that proposed change will help save more animals.