Posted by: twodogtales | June 10, 2010

New Alexandria law: protect, or prevent?

An article in The Examiner says that the Alexandria city council is going to consider legislation that will outlaw tying a pet outside for more than 60 minutes. Vice Mayor Donley says the intent is to protect dogs from neglect, but I think Alexandria resident dog owners need to sit up, pay attention and make sure their voices are heard.

As Alicia Hughes, a member of the council, points out, technically, someone who brings their dog to one of the many outdoor restaurants could be fined. Or what about taking your dog to a picnic at the waterfront or Fort Ward Park? Do you have to leave after 59 minutes or risk a fine? Does the dog have to be tied up and unattended, or will it not apply when the owner is present? Does it apply to public property or private, or both?

Intent is all well and good, but all it takes is one dog-hater in authority to begin enforcing the letter of the law and life will become miserable for dog owners. I found that out recently when my condo association had implemented new visitor parking rules to keep people from excessively using the few visitor spots. Our intent was to only enforce chronic offenders who abused the privilege, but a few residents with too much time on their hands, and unfortunately temporary authority, have taken it upon themselves to make sure thelaw is enforced, exactly as it is written, all the time.

But I digress.  Alexandrians need to watch this one.


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