FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – If you have a dog and tie him or her to a tree, pole, or fence in Nassau County, you may have to stop.
Fernandina Beach is taking up an ordinance that makes it tougher for pet owners to do this.
"The hardest cases are dogs who have been tied up," said Octavio Martinez, owner of Hot Paws Pet Resort.
Martinez is happy that Fernandina Beach approved the first of two readings of a new animal cruelty ordinance.
The current ordinance says that an animal can't be tethered for more than 10 hours a day, which the city says is hard to enforce.
The new ordinance prohibits tying up dogs and cats unless the owner is within eyesight or is with the animal.
"Dogs that go to the pound are usually dogs that come from situations like that, so then the shelters start dealing with the issues of having dogs that are aggressive and having dogs that need to be put down," Martinez said.
Dogs can suffer physical injuries from being tied up for long periods of time, but Martinez said what happens inside their heads, their brains, the psychological effects, are what can be the hardest to treat.
"A dog that has been tied up or confined to a space on its own, if it happens to get lost, the chances are that dog might bite somebody, or attack another dog, or cause an issue just because the dog has pretty much no social interactions," Martinez said.
The city's mayor said she expects the second hearing June 20 to also pass unanimously. Nassau County will hold a meeting at 6 p.m. Monday for input on a new ordinance that would affect the whole county. The meeting will be at the James S. Page Governmental Complex at 96135 Nassau Place in Yulee.
The mayor and Martinez hope the county will follow suit.
"What I'm really, really hoping is that they will pass and that this is going to become the new stipulation," Martinez said. "That way, there won't be dogs suffering out there, tied up to trees, or fences, or even tractors. We've seen it all around here."
For tethering laws in other counties, go to: