LaGrange bans unsupervised dog tethering

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, September 27, 2023

On Tuesday, the LaGrange City Council approved an amendment to the city’s tethering ordinance that forbids all unsupervised dog tethering, including unsupervised use of a trolley system.

The city had previously banned the use of single-point tethering but carved out an exception for the use of a trolley system, which allows dogs to be tethered to a trolley that can move along a fixed-line. If done correctly, the trolleys can allow dogs significantly more range of movement but according to local animal advocate Evie Kettler it comes with the same dangers if used unsupervised.

Kettler, who has been advocating locally for dogs since 2015, asked the city to eliminate 24/7 and unsupervised trolley system use.

Kettler said that continuous, unsupervised tethering —whether single point or by trolley— is inhumane and can cause physical and emotional suffering in dogs. 

Under the modified ordinance, all forms of unsupervised tethering are banned within the city. Trolley systems can still be used for supervised temporary tethering via harness if the owner or the custodian remains outside and visible with the dog at all times.

Though not specifically included in the ordinance, City Manager Meg Kelsey said the change will be phased over a year. During the first six months, animal control will educate residents about the changed ordinance and give them time to prepare acceptable enclosures for their dogs. During the subsequent six months, there will be a warning period where animal control will provide an initial warning rather than a citation for violations.

The council unanimously approved the amendment.

“It is difficult to put into words just how significant this day is, but I have no doubt that you understand the immense magnitude,” Kettler said after the vote, holding back tears.

“Dogs, being pack animals, have an incredible capacity for unconditional love and companionship and have so much to give. Unfortunately, they cannot speak for themselves. Which is why individuals like myself must be their advocates. Your display of compassion toward dogs tonight shows that you care. Your support means the world to me as it sets examples for others to follow. I am sincerely grateful for your willingness to stand up for these amazing animals and pave the way for a brighter future.”