Theresa Kisielewski and Valerie Lamoreux talk about efforts to strengthen anti-tethering laws in Hendersonville. (Apr. 1, 2013?FOX Carolina)
HENDERSONVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -
In a fight to protect animals, supporters of stronger anti-tethering laws want to oust half of Hendersonville's City Council.
The group of animal rights activists said the city council did a little bit to help chained dogs, but not enough, and now they're on a mission to elect new leadership, including the mayor.
Pictures of dogs, tied to heavy chains, surrounded by garbage is how a new web site, www.offthechainnc.org, hopes to win support for anti-tethering laws.
It's a sight the organizers, Theresa Kisielewski and Valerie Lamoreux, said they often see when they're making rounds in the city feeding dogs, laying extra straw and asking folks to build fences for them.
They said the ordinance passed by Hendersonville council members in 2011 requires adequate food, water, medical attention and shelter, but they claim that it's rarely enforced.
"The police are frustrated themselves because they have to do what is within the law. [One officer] said, ‘I'm sorry but there's nothing I can do unless that dog is dead on the chain pretty much or clearly famished,'" said Kisielewski.
Lamoreux said not having a stronger law, "Enables people to acquire dogs very easily, because you don't have to put any care or forethought into it, you don't have to worry about a fence, you don't have to worry about spay neuter or vet care, you can just chain them up."
The two said they feel like they're on their own and hope their support can rally candidates who will run for office and support their cause.
Hendersonville's Mayor, Barbara Volk, said the activists have the right to try to rally new candidates against her and the other two council members up for re-election this fall.
Mayor Pro Tem, Jeff Collis said that this week, the Hendersonville Police Department came out with some numbers for calls about dog tethering since the ordinance was passed. He said there wasn't much of a difference, that there were only 18 calls about chained up dogs.
Collis said the ordinance they passed was something they could do, feasibly at the time, with the resources they had in the city. He said what the activists want would require many more officers, which the city itself can't support.
He said something like Asheville's anti-chaining law could work, but it started with active participation and widespread community support.
Greenville passed an anti-tethering law in 2012, which limits tethering to dogs older than 6 months old, for not more than two hours in a 12 hour period. It doesn't allow tethering in bad weather, and regulates the size of the tether.
The town of Greer has an ordinance, and Anderson County is doing research and discussing an ordinance.
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