A new state law bans leaving pets chained up outside in bad weather for extended periods of time, creating penalties for owners and allowing authorities to take custody of pets in some cases. This is good news for New Jersey pets! With enforcement of this law by the Bergen County Animal Cruelty Task Force (BCSPCA), dogs will no longer live their lives on the end of a weighted chain, alone and forgotten in the backyard.
It is now unlawful to tether or chain:
a companion animal outside for more than 30 minutes without proper shelter if the temperature is 32 degrees or below or if it is hotter than 90 degrees;
a nursing female dog or a dog that is less than 4 months old;
a companion animal outside between the hours of 11PM and 5 AM;
a companion animal wearing a choke collar, prong collar, head harness, or any other type of collar, harness, or similar device other than a properly fitted body harness or buckle-type collar;
by using a chain with metal links that are more than one-quarter of an inch thick, or a tether, collar, or harness to which a weight is attached;
with a tether on which more than one dog is restrained;
with a tether that is less than 15 feet in length or which does not permit the dog to walk at least 15 feet in any one direction; or
with a tether that permits the dog to reach another dog or an object or location that poses a risk of entanglement, strangulation, drowning, or other harm to the health or safety of the dog, including, but not limited to, another dog’s tether or a window sill, fence, wall, porch, terrace railing, vehicle, tree, pole, pool, or public road or highway.
When tethered outside the companion animal must also have access to sanitary water in a liquid state.
Other provisions of the law are designed to encourage pet owners to take their pets with them when evacuated or to make other arrangements to keep their pets safe in an emergency.
If you see an animal being improperly tethered, please report it to the Bergen County SPCA (BC ACTF) at 201-573-8900.