Good news for Washington dogs! Senate passes new humane treatment bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Good news for dogs in Washington state. A bill passed the Senate this week that set up baseline health and safety conditions for canines.

The new humane treatment law (SB 5356) says dogs who are restrained for a period of time should have access to food and water, protection from extreme weather and the ability to move about without becoming tangled.

The legislation also prohibits tethering by a choke, pinch, or halter collar, or a chain or rope that is so heavy it impedes the dog's free movement.

“There’s a major difference between keeping a dog restrained outside for their own safety for a reasonable amount of time and reckless abandonment and neglect,” said Sen. Joe Fain. “This provides an opportunity for animal protection officers to assess individual situations to ensure the health and safety of man and woman’s best friend.”

During a public hearing on the legislation, animal care advocates shared stories of neglected dogs who had been tethered so long the collar cut and even grew into the muscles around the dog’s neck.

The bill passed unanimously and now heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration as lawmakers near the halfway point of the 2017 legislative session.

Washington would become the 21st state along with the District of Columbia to have specific animal tethering laws in place, although they vary.