Guilty, your Honour

If I lived in Raleigh, North Carolina, I could be charged with animal abuse.

My yard has no fence, and, until many more important issues are taken care of (like insulation, electrical work, drywall, etc. etc. etc.), it won't be getting one. Additionally, I have to make a decision about the four trees in the backyard (they are 80+ years old, have a lot of dead wood and some are starting to rot at the base. I need to get someone in to assess their health, and decide if they need to come down). Once that decision is made, then I need to figure out what I want to do with certain areas of the yard, which will finally lead to the decision of which areas will be fenced and which won't. There was also no storage for yard items, like lawn mowers, which led to the shed building of a few weeks ago. During construction, I tethered Kip outside.

For more than 3 hours.

Without access to food.

Mind you, I was outside with Kip that entire time, and obviously, I didn't break the spirit of the law. But I quite possibly broke the letter of that law.

This is my main problem with many animal anti-cruelty laws (and many laws in general). They are enacted to address a specific problem (in this case, dogs left tethered for the majority of their lives), but end up being so vague and broad that they could be used against a regular, non-abusive dog owner. All it takes is a nosy neighbour, a power-hungry animal control officer, someone out to make trouble, your local animal-rights activist...

Mind you, that link isn't to the law itself, just to an article about it. Hopefully, there are exclusions in the actual law to prevent situations like mine being considered as against the law. But there are many examples of laws having unintended consequences, and I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't another one.


  1. Don't have a fence either. I live 1/2 mile down a dirt road, and I've trained my dogs never to cross a certain point in on the road.

    And they never do.

  2. Great! Kip actually does have a pretty good recall, but I haven't trained him to stay in the yard if I'm not there. And, I live in town, on a somewhat busy street down which cars often speed, and there are interesting things like other dogs and squirrels and people and squirrels and birds and squirrels... did I mention the squirrels??

    Add to that the coyotes that visit the area in the winter, the rabbits and deer all year round that will want to nibble the (as of yet un-planted) garden, and really, a fence is the best option for me. However, it will have to wait for more important things to get done!



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