79 dog tethering complaints filed since new rules took effect
NB SPCA says one-month educational period over, offenders now face $140 fines
The New Brunswick SPCA has responded to 79 dog tethering complaints since new provincial legislation took effect in December.
An educational transition period has come to an end, and first-time offenders now face fines of $140, said executive director Hilary Howes.
If the case ends up in court, a judge can impose a further fine up to $640.
"When we get temperatures like last week, when it gets into the minus 30s, we are definitely not going to be giving too many breaks in a situation like that," said Howes.
"We'll be going ahead and laying charges," he said, urging anyone who witnesses overnight tethering to file a complaint by calling the SPCA's dispatch line at 1-877-722-1522.
Level of compliance 'gratifying'
New Brunswick became the first province to ban the tethering of dogs 24 hours a day on Dec. 1.
The regulatory changes come following a 28-day public consultation period and just months after public outrage over a Kent County dog being tethered to its snowed-in doghouse while its owner was away.
Carl MacAulay, chief animal protection officer for the organization, says the new restrictions are becoming accepted more quickly than anticipated by the SPCA and other animal rights advocacy groups that lobbied for the changes.
"What’s been most gratifying has been the level of compliance we’ve been achieving simply by educating the dog owners,” MacAulay said in a statement.
"Education has always been our first course of action, but often we experience more resistance. In this case, I believe New Brunswickers realize the dangers of cold, and share concerns over the quality of life for chained dogs."
An outdoor dog may remain outside overnight, provided it is in a pen, rather than on a chain, and has an adequate dog house, SPCA officials said.
For a dog house to be considered adequate, it must have sufficient insulation to retain the heat of the animal. The SPCA recommends adding straw as bedding and additional insulation.
Tethering during the day is still permitted year round, but a proper shelter must be provided.