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Forsyth Co. veterinarians to commissioners: ‘You can no longer ignore the public health threat from tethered dogs’

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., - The Forsyth County Veterinary Medical Association says county commissioners can no longer ignore the public health hazard that comes from allowing residents to tether dogs.

The group, which represents nearly 100 veterinarians in the county, is the latest calling on commissioners to pass the same tethering ban many communities have passed, including Guilford County last year.

"It's a public health hazard to have dogs tethered," said Molly Douglass, a veterinarian with the association. She says they've seen the effects that countless reports and studies have proved that tethering dogs is not only inhumane but dangerous to the public. "They are not socialized, they end up getting vicious and aggressive and ended up being euthanized."

Douglass joined animal advocates with the Forsyth Animal Coalition Wednesday calling for the ban to pass. They introduced residents to Peter, a dog found just last week along Peter's Creek Parkway extremely emaciated and dragging a chain and padlocked collar around his neck. A 2007 tethering ordinance approved by commissioners was found to be ineffective and full of loopholes.

"This practice is barbaric, it's outdated and it has no place in today's society," said Leila Warren, with the Forsyth Animal Coalition. "It's an embarrassment because even neighboring counties have adopted it with no problems."

Some county commissioners have been reluctant to pass an all-out ban like neighboring communities citing residents' property rights. But officials with Forsyth County Animal Control says 80 percent of their animal abuse calls involve tethered animals and, with a threat to the safety of the public, it has to stop.