Letter to the Editor:
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Gwinnett Animal Advocates Join Forces to Become Gwinnett Animal Alliance 
Making Gwinnett County a safer place, for animals and people, through research, education and outreach.

Lawrenceville, GA –Citizens of Gwinnett County applaud their Board of Commissioners. On Tuesday, June 23, the Board amended the tethering ordinance that was set to take effect on July 1, 2015. The previous ordinance, modified and adopted by the commissioners on March 17, would have allowed up to fourteen (14) hours a day of unsupervised tethering on a trolley system. Research by animal behaviorists, veterinarians and the Centers for Disease Control suggests that tethering contributes to aggression and is inhumane. The new ordinance, which passed unanimously, will permit tethering only when supervised by an adult and only when a trolley system is used.  Single point tethers will no longer be permitted. Supervised only tethering and all out bans on tethering are being adopted by progressive communities all over the United States.

Commission Chairman, Charlotte Nash stated that it was “polite persistence” that won her over. She also researched the issue further. Immediately prior to the vote, Commissioner Lynette Howard thanked all the people who contacted her about the tethering issue. Commissioner Tommy Hunter also expressed thanks for communications he received. Citizens also recognize Gwinnett County Animal Control Director Chip Moore for his extensive research on this issue and dedication to the welfare of the animals and citizens of Gwinnett County.

The following statistics likely played a role in the decision to change the ordinance:

*Almost 26% of all dog on human fatalities are caused by intact male dogs that are tethered or routinely tethered. The CDC also states that tethered dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite than a non-tethered dog. 

*The American Veterinary Medical Association advises, “never chain your dog because it can lead to aggression.” 

*A report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association states that "in 87.1% of fatal dog attacks, there was no able-bodied person present to intervene." 

This staggering statistic shows how vital it is for a responsible person to be present in case of an incident between a dog and a child, or any person who is unable to defend him or herself, in case of an attack.” 

 “The health and well being of the dogs, as well as the safety of children who may wander into a dog’s space, can only be monitored if a responsible person is present,” said  Susan Ruelle, of Bethlehem. 

After the vote, Jennifer Summers, of Dacula, addressed the commissioners and said, “We are so grateful that you brought the issue back up. I certainly applaud you.”

Gwinnett Animal Alliance is comprised of members from all over Gwinnett County. The next task for the group is to support and assist during the transition of the new ordinance, by helping to educate pet owners and by connecting those in need to available resources.  They will also provide support to other counties and communities that are trying to improve animal ordinances. 

“We are excited about rolling up our sleeves and helping our neighbors,” said Lila Hunter.

If you want to learn more about Gwinnett Animal Alliance or get involved, please find us on Facebook: Gwinnett Animal Alliance.  

Contact: info@gwinnettanimalalliance.org