York Co. Politician Wants Apology Over Dog Tethering Ordinance

YORK CO., S.C. – “We need to clean it up,” says York County Councilman William “Bump” Roddey. He is at the center of a political, emotional, and frankly complicated problem with a local dog tethering ordinance. “Now we move forward from here is the big question,” he says.

The bottom line is that Roddey says what ended up in writing is not what was discussed when the ordinance was voted on in 2012. The three words to pay attention to are permanent, temporary and fence.

Roddey says what council voted in favor of was to allow the permanent tethering of dogs, with no supervision, as long as the dogs were also behind a fence. In an audio clip from a 2012 council discussion, one county leader says in part, “As long as the fence is your primary, and it’s secure enough to contain the animals, then you can also tether.”

The ordinance as it stands today permits temporary tethering under certain criteria and does not include the word fence. “I’ve asked the county manager to put a statement out saying hey, we made a mistake,” says Roddey.

WCCB asked the interim county manager and the assistant county manager if they agree with Roddey, and if they’ll issue an apology. So far, the have not replied. Roddey says, “We are basically at a point where York County should apologize to the citizens for not making sure that that language got into the ordinance and we are just gonna have to deal with what we have in black and white, unless it’s re-introduced.”

If it is re-introduced, Roddey could face an uphill political battle. He has recently said on social media “if keeping the community safe means use a chain, then by all means, I say use a chain,” as well as “chains don’t make dogs mean.”

Multiple professional agencies confirm that chaining dogs does make them aggressive, and is inhumane.

“When he bit on to me, he didn’t let go,” says York County resident and animal rescuer Stephanie Blount. She has a scar from being bitten in the groin by a chained dog, says she would not support changing the current ordinance. “Chaining a dog isn’t protecting us, I can first hand vouch for that,” says Blount.

And at Baxter Veterinary Clinic in Fort Mill, Dr. Kelly Baete says she has contacted her local representatives about chaining, too. She says, “I think for public safety, which I know is what Bump Roddey is really focused on, we’re gonna be making it less safe for our community by having those laws reversed.”

WCCB also asked the other current board member who was part of that 2012 vote, Britt Blackwell, if he agrees with Roddey about the ordinance or the apology. Blackwell replied and said in part, “I certainly do not agree with chaining a dog…,” and “…we probably need to place it back on the agenda asap to clarify…” A county spokesperson tells WCCB it will be on the Monday meeting agenda.