ALTUS, OK (KSWO) - The City of Altus is putting a new policy in place to protect animals from being forced to stay out in the elements all their lives. The policy, which goes into effect June 15, will fine owners for having their dog chained up outside.
Animal Control Officer Michelle Boggs said if someone were to drive through any neighborhood in town, they would probably see at least one chained dog.
"On a chain is no life for a dog," Boggs said. "They have limited space that they can go in the yard and most dogs on a chain don't have any kind of interaction with people they get forgot about so this is a wonderful thing."
Boggs believes dogs who spend their whole life chained up makes them more aggressive.
"If they were to get loose, they're more likely to attack somebody because of all the anxiety they have," Boggs said.
Although city officials believe having this ordinance is the right thing to do Altus' Assistant City Manager Matt Wojnowski said the city has received a mixed response.
"In support, they're saying an animal shouldn't live chained and tied up constantly, and those against, believe animals are their property and can do what they want," Wojnowski said.
The ordinance says that no animal can be chained up, but Boggs said they're going to be reasonable when it comes to enforcement. She said they are able to tell whether a dog is living on a chain or not by how they act, how the collar has rubbed on the dog, and how the ground looks.
"We will allow people to just put their dogs out for a short period of time to go to the bathroom," Boggs said. "We're not going to give you a ticket for that, but if we see that it's a constant, every time we drive by, the dog is on a chain, you will get a ticket."
Once the ordinance goes into effect, they can choose to give warning, but if the problem continues, they'll write a ticket. The first ticket will be $150 and after that, it will be a $500 fine.