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W.F. City Council Approves Dog Chaining Ordinance

<br><p>Wichita Falls dog owners can no longer leave their animals chained in their yards.</p> <p>After much debate Wichita Falls city leaders voted on the city's amended chaining and tethering requirements for animals.</p> <p>Mechell Dixon was at today's meeting with more on this heated topic.</p>

The amended animal restraint ordinance passed unanimously but not before members of the public voiced their opinion.

"I'm not willing to lose my dogs because they think it's wrong!"

Wichita Falls resident and dog owner Kendra Burley was one of many people who voiced their opinion on the city's dog chaining ordinance.

The ordinance would allow chaining only if the owner is outside within 50 feet of their dog or dogs.

And violators could be fined up to $500.

City officials say chaining is cruel and makes dogs unhappy but Burley says that is not so with her pets.

"I love my dogs. I take good care of them. They have enough chain to run around and play," says Burley.

But her comments weren't enough for city councilors.

Some here barked that the passing of the ordinance would be a financial blow for dog owners who cannot afford animal enclosures but this measure takes that issue into account.

"Requires that a nonprofit group is formed that will assist individuals who have their animals chained and don't have the monetary means or the knowledge to be able to keep that animal up without some type of assistance," says Lou Kreidler, director of the Wichita Fall Wichita County Public Health District.

The group is called Chain Off and it's already up, running and ready to help.

"Before we even had a name for our organization we actually had more than $7,500 worth of pledges already," says Erin Hudson, marketing coordinator for Chain Off.

But city officials say more money will be needed to help the estimated $11,000 dogs who are chained at any given time in the city.

Instead of taking effect in 30 days this ordinance will do so in 180 days to allow animal control officers time to speak with dog owners who routinely chain their animals and inform them about the new law and also allow the group, Chain Off, time to raise more funding for the assistance program.

If you're interested in more information on Chain Off's assistance program call PETS Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic at (940) 723-2387.

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