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The York County Council will hold a public hearing today on proposed changes to the countys animal rules, which include new limitations on tethering and requirements for sterilizing some outdoor pets.
The council also could give the third of three required nods to approve the changes, widely endorsed by animal control officials.
Changes to the countys animal control laws have been in the works for months.
Animal control officers and county leaders have agreed that the existing rules, which pertain only to cats and dogs, limit animal controls ability to enforce state laws.
Some changes include expanding the definition of animal to encompass livestock, bringing the county rules in line with state law and sharpening definitions of adequate shelter and dangerous animal.
After hearing concerns from animal control officials, county leaders seem on track to approve new limitations on tethering aimed at preventing dogs from getting loose and posing a threat to the public.
The changes also include a requirement for pet owners to sterilize female cats and dogs more than four months old that are housed outside where other animals might have unrestrictied access to them, leading to unwanted litters.
The proposal also would bar pet owners from using a tether as a primary means of restraint. Pet owners would be required to keep dogs indoors, inside a secure enclosure such as a fence or on a trolley line at least 10 feet long while away from their pet.
The line would run between two pulley stops suspended three feet above the animals head.
The animal would be connected by another line at least 10 feet long with swivels at both ends and a rolling trolley that could move the length of the line.
Pet owners could continue tethering inside secure enclosures or while the owner is present. The tether would have to be at least 10 feet in length, swivel at both ends and give the animal 360-degree access around the fixed point.
The law also includes a sharpened definition of adequate shelter and lists examples of unacceptable shelters: underneath motor vehicles, garbage cans, cardboard boxes, plastic or metal barrels, animal transport crates or carriers, under houses, structures, decks, or outside steps or stoops.
Want to go?
The York County Council meets at 6 p.m. today in the Agricultural Building at 6 S. Congress Street in York. Those wishing to speak in two-minute time slots at the beginning of the meeting can sign up before the meeting on a first-come, first-serve basis.