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Angels of Assisi helping city of Roanoke enforce tethering law

The shelter is hoping the law won't lead to more overcrowding at shelters.

ROANOKE, Va. – Angels of Assisi is joining forces with the city of Roanoke to make sure a new tethering law is enforced.

"If we can get those dogs off chains and not be a nuisance to the neighbors with barking, healthier pets lead to a healthier community, and that's what we're here to do," said Lisa O'Neill, executive director of Angels of Assisi. 

As of July 1, dogs cannot be tied up to anything for more than three hours. Dogs also cannot be tied up outside after 10 p.m. or before 6 a.m. The shelter has stepped in for a 6-month educational period to make the process easier for dog owners.

"Sometimes, folks just don't have the resources to get the animals off the chains; doesn't mean they don't want to. So we're putting together a volunteer group to help build some fences and keep those dogs off chains in their backyard," said O'Neill. 

Angels of Assisi is also hoping that working with the city will keep local shelter numbers manageable, because if the ordinance is not followed and a dog is repeatedly chained, animal wardens will have to take the animal to a shelter.

"The shelter's a very stressful environment, and I think there's a good chance that euthanasia rates would really skyrocket if all these dogs that are on chains don't get the help they need and end up at our pound. They'll be taking up space there, and it's not a win-win situation by any means," said O'Neill. 

Shelter staff will be working hand-in-hand with animal wardens throughout the six-month period, meeting with owners of chained-up dogs. As staff say, hopefully making an impact on the dog and the owner's quality of life.

"We want to get them spayed and neutered, we want to get them off the chains in the backyard, we want them to become part of a family. Together, with our community we can help make that happen," said O'Neill. 

Angels of Assisi will be hosting community meetings to discuss the law and the fencing and support efforts. For more information on that, click here.

To learn more about the tethering law, click here.