If you have a dog, you've probably done it dozens of times; you go to a coffee shop, find a tree, tie your best friend to it, go inside, get a cup of coffee, come back out. Well that's illegal in New Hanover County, and it soon could be illegal to tether a dog on your own property. "I had my dog, who I put outside on a tether system, behind my fenced-in backyard. Animal control came and wrote me a citation for it." Wilmington resident Andrea Press says she faced a $250 penalty for securing her pit bull terrier, Eva. On her property. Behind a fence. She said, "It would have been $25 to let my dog run loose." But she read the fine print, took her case to the board of health. They lifted the fine. Now, New Hanover County Animal Control is proposing a revision of the dog control code. Press said, "You can't tether your dog at all. Not behind your fence. Not at the coffee shop." The proposal before the county commission; to change the definition of restraining a dog, from controlled by a leash, to controlled by an attended leash. The idea is to keep the public safe, and to ensure that people don't leave their dogs tied up for days at a time. But some think this change would do more harm than good. Talking about his yellow lab, Wilmington resident Barry Marlow said, "He'll dig underneath a fence in a heartbeat to go do what he wants to do, which is chase birds. If I tether my dog up, if he's behind a fence, safe from other dogs and people, I don't see any harm in it at all." Press said, "The fence is no guarnatee. The breed that I have is very athletic and climbing over a fence coud be very easy. I put her outside a few hours a day. The rest of the time she's inside. I believe that is my right to do." She and other dog owners will take their case to the county commision. The dog control code change is on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioner's agenda Monday. The public meeting starts at 1p.m. at the historic county courthouse on North Third Street.
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