Abilene Animal Services warns of effects of improper tethering


ABILENE, Texas - After Abilene Animal Services rescued a German Shepherd puppy who gnawed her own foot off to escape a tether that had wrapped around her leg, employees are calling for attention to the dangers of improper tethering.

Heidi, the German Shepard puppy, was almost killed in April when she was improperly tethered.

Her life was in jeopardy," said Aaron Vannoy with Abilene Animal Services. "Improper tethering can be very damaging to a dog."

Tethering your animal is not illegal, but if you do it improperly it is against an Abilene City Ordinance.

The tether needs to be at least 10 feet long and positioned in a way where the dog doesn't get tangled up. Residents are prohibited from using a choke collar on an animal while they are restrained.

"The right way to tether is to be there with the animal ... and don't do it for a very long time," Vannoy said.

Vannoy said animal services has seen an increase in improper tethering calls, but because those types of calls are lumped together with other calls for service, it's hard to say exactly how much of an increase there is.

Dr. Allen Bolt with the Animal Health and Medical Center in Abilene said he has seen a lot of tethering related injuries in dogs.

"They are not uncommon, unfortunately," Dr. Bolt said.

Heidi is on her way to Colorado where she will receive a second chance at life. Police are investigating to see if any charges may be filed.

Residents caught tethering animals improperly could face a Class C misdemeanor. That charge could be upgraded, depending on what happens to the animal.