Charlotte City Council Decides Against Ban on Unattended Dog Tethering; Will Consider Circus “Bullhook” Ban

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – City Council will not place any new restrictions on dog tethering in Charlotte.

The decision coming as council members discussed animal welfare issues during a strategy session.

“The mayor and city council chose to do absolutely nothing, so this is an epic fail,” said East Charlotte resident Holly Newton.

She and dozens of animal activists left disappointed on Monday night after council voted 9-2 against new tethering restrictions.

“Dogs are going to be forced to live outside, tethered, in all elements, nothing is changing,” Newton says.

Animal advocates wanted to make it illegal to leave dogs tied up alone, arguing some dogs live their entire lives chained up.

But city staff said making unattended dog tethering illegal, could lead to equity concerns.

“Additional dogs having to be surrendered to shelters, or less homes available for dogs, or potential unattended consequences of financial impacts to citizens,” Marie Harris, with the City of Charlotte, told council members.

Councilmember Malcolm Graham agreed, saying he’s worried about low-income neighborhoods and the people who would face fines or penalties.

“I’m really concerned about whether or not we can even enforce it, and I’m also concerned about the selective enforcement when we do,” Graham said.

Instead of a ban, council agreed to collect data to see how the current tethering ordinance is working.

Circus “bullhook” ban considered

On another hot button issue, council also decided not to ban circus animals from performing in the city.

Activists have staged protests outside the government center in recent weeks.

Instead, council will consider banning tools like “bullhooks” used to force animals to perform.

Activists say that might not go far enough.

“That’s how these animals perform, through fear. And the only way to really regulate this, is to say that we can’t have these animals in town anymore,” said activist Kristen Moyer.

Council will debate a “bullhook” ban on February 24th. Councilmember Tariq Bokhari said it’s something they will have to give a lot of consideration.

That’s because in other cities, banning “bullhooks” essentially had the same effect as banning circus animals altogether.