PA 10-100—sSB 274

Environment Committee

Judiciary Committee

Planning and Development Committee


SUMMARY: Existing law prohibits confining or tethering a dog for an unreasonable period of time. This act, with some exceptions, prohibits tethering a dog to a stationary object or mobile device under certain conditions and in some situations. It changes the fines and penalties for such actions. The act does not affect other protections for dogs in state or local law, ordinance, or regulation.

The act also makes changes to the law on certificates of origin for dogs sold by pet shops.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010


The act prohibits anyone from tethering a dog to a stationary object or to a mobile device, such as a trolley or pulley, by using a tether that (1) does not allow the dog to walk at least eight feet, excluding the length of the dog as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of the tail, in any one direction; (2) does not have swivels on both ends to prevent twisting and tangling, unless the owner or keeper is in the dog's presence; (3) has weights attached or contains metal chain links more than one-quarter inch thick; or (4) allows the dog to reach an object such as a window still, pool edge, fence, porch, or terrace railing that poses a substantial risk of injuring or strangling the dog if it jumps over the object, unless the owner or keeper is on the premises. The act also prohibits tethering to a stationary object or mobile device by using a coat hanger; choke collar; prong-type collar; head halter; or any other collar, halter, or device not specifically designed or properly fitted for restraining the dog.

The restrictions in (1) and (2) above do not apply to (a) any licensed veterinary practice that tethers a dog in the course of the practice; (b) any exhibition, show, contest, or other temporary event in which the dog's skill, breeding, or stamina is judged or examined; (c) any exhibition, class, training session, or other temporary event where the dog is used lawfully to hunt wildlife during the hunting season for that wildlife species or when the dog receives lawful training in hunting such wildlife; (d) the temporary tethering at any camping or recreation area as expressly authorized by the environmental protection commissioner; or (e) the temporary tethering at a grooming facility in the course of grooming the dog.


Existing law imposes fines for confining or tethering a dog for an unreasonable period of time. The act changes the amount of the fines for first and second offenses and imposes them for violations of existing law and the provisions above.

Table 1: Penalties


Existing Law

The Act

First Offense

Up to $100


Second Offense

Between $100 and $250


Subsequent Offenses

Between $250 and $500

Between $250 and $500


By law, any dog that a pet shop sells or offers for sale must come with a certificate of origin that identifies the name and address of the (1) person, firm, or corporation that bred the dog and (2) anyone who sold the dog to a pet shop licensee. The information in the certificate must be posted in a conspicuous manner no more than 10 feet from where the dog is displayed for sale. The licensee must (1) give the consumer a copy of the certificate when it sells the dog and (2) file a copy with the Department of Agriculture no later than two days after the sale. The law requires pet shops to display the place of a dog's birth and other information.

The act, instead, requires (1) the certificate to be in a form prescribed by the agriculture commissioner; (2) the licensee to file a copy of the certificate with the department no later than seven, rather than two days after the sale; and (3) pet shops to post the information in the certificate on the sign they must already post on the cage of each dog offered for sale that is visible to customers.

OLR Tracking: JK: VR: CR: DF