Bizzarro: Get the facts about Pa.’s new dog-tethering law

ERIE, Aug. 29 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, today said Pennsylvania’s new animal protection law is breeding misunderstandings regarding what kind of dog collar can be used and when.

“I’ve seen erroneous reports stating that chokers and pronged dog collars are now illegal when walking a dog on its leash,” Bizzarro said. “Pronged and choke collars are only banned during long-term tethering, not for the pooch’s daily walk around the neighborhood.”

Bizzarro said lawmakers who crafted Act 10 of 2017 walked a fine line between wanting to protect animals and realizing that restrictive collars can deter dangerous pet behaviors.

“We all want our pets to behave and obey, but none of us live in that perfect world,” Bizzarro said. “Despite obedience classes and doting pet owners, dogs have been known to run off from their owners when spotting other animals, and, during those limited instances, a restrictive collar may be warranted to protect the pet.”

Bizzarro said Act 10, also known as Libre’s Law after an abandoned dog that was saved from inhumane conditions, is based on common sense and compassion.

“A pronged collar that digs into a dog’s neck could very well save the pet’s life during a stroll, but it is a wrong and cruel deterrent when the pet is tethered for up to nine hours at a time,” said Bizzarro, one of the champions of the comprehensive animal protection measure.

Specifically, Act 10 requires:

  • A leash at least three times the length of the pet or 10 feet, whichever is longer.
  • No tow or logging chains, or pinch, choke or prong collars, used with a tether.
  • A well-fitted collar and no open sores or wounds on the dog's body.
  • The lead must be on a swivel and ideally a lead that has a coated cover to avoid getting tangled.
  • The area where the pet is kept must be kept clear of excessive feces with access to drinkable water and shade.
  • No more than nine consecutive hours on a leash in a day's time. 
  • No more than 30 minutes tied up when temperatures are lower than 32 degrees or higher than 90 degrees.

“I will be urging the Department of Agriculture to make available easy-to-read fact sheets and flyers about what Act 10 does and does not require,” Bizzarro said. “The law is comprehensive, but it is a reasonable and sensible update to Pennsylvania’s animal-protection statutes and outlines the proper way to tether a dog.”