The Crossville City Council voted Tuesday night to use current state law on dog tethering instead of passing its own ordinance.
Under Tennessee law, anyone who knowingly ties, tethers or restrains a dog in a manner that causes injury can face a misdemeanor charge. A second offense can result in felony charges.
Crossville Mayor James Mayberry said that should be enough.
“If anyone sees a problem, they should report it to the proper authorities which is our police department and the police department takes care of it and makes sure the dog is being treated in a humane way,” Mayberry said.
“As far as I’m concerned our state law is sufficient to police dogs.”
The council had been considering a rule that prohibited the outdoor tethering of dogs between 7pm and 7am. In addition, the law would have not allowed dogs to be tethered outside for more than eight hours in a 24-hour period.
Several citizens spoke against the ordinance during the meeting’s comment portion. Most focused on how outdoor dogs can protect property from criminals. Several also mentioned tethering dogs did not necessarily equate to cruelty.
Council Member Pamala Harris brought the issue to the council on behalf of concerned citizens. She said the intent of the law centered on enhancing the lives of animals and not penalizing citizens who tether.
Harris said she agreed with the mayor’s position so long as the council asked police to watch the issue more carefully. She also said the city needs to communicate with its citizens more on the issue.
“We’ve got to reach some middle ground,” Harris said. “Because we do have people in the city that are not properly taking care of their tethered dogs.”