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Lynchburg's animal control needs officers

Animal wardens still educating pet owners one month after new tethering law

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg's new tethering law took effect on July 1. 

Earlier this year, City Council voted that pet owners cannot tether or tie a dog outside for more than 30 minutes in extreme weather. 

"We'll give out warnings. Other than if you've had a warning, then you continue to do that, then you will be cited," Danny Marks, animal warden, said.

Marks spends his time following up on calls and checking for violations. One month since the new law, wardens say, people still don't know about it. 

"This is the first time we've had this in Lynchburg with the limits on tethering. So, as we get calls, we're educating the people, giving them a copy of the ordinance. It's more educational right now versus enforcement," Marks said.

While they are out educating the public, Marks says they're overwhelmed.

"More time we spend going here, educating people about tethering, then other calls get backed up about loose dogs, dog attacks, so forth like that," Marks said.

Animal control typically has five wardens on staff. They've lost one person and need to immediately fill a full-time position. 

From January to August this year, officers have been called to 10 cases of animals left out in extreme weather conditions. The highest number was in July.

"Well, as we get more calls, people hear about the tethering. That kind of stretches us real thin," Marks said.

Marks said hiring a new person will help them enforce and handle calls effectively.

"We'd like to get a good person to fill the slot. It's a good job; it's a very busy job. But it's a very rewarding job when you see you make a difference," Marks said.

If you're interested in applying for the animal warden job, click here.