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Dylan’s Law making it’s way through legislative committees

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 5:16 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Back in 2017, Leon County joined a growing list of counties to ban chaining up your animal and leaving it unattended.

Now there is a bill moving through session, trying to get all of Florida on board.

The bill is called Dylan’s Law, in memory of a 17-month-old boy who died nine years ago Tuesday. He was attacked by a neighbor’s dog who was left tethered and alone.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, tethering dogs increases aggression and makes them three to five times more likely to attack.

Proponents of this bill say it is about public safety, and the animal’s well being.

Nine years ago on March 9 in Jacksonville, Dylan Andres lost his life after he was attacked by a neighbor’s Rottweiler, who was left chained and alone.

“In the last 10 years, there have been over 40 serious dog attacks, and four of them fatal with children, including Dylan,” Jennifer Kanady with the Anti-Chain Division Director at AFDA.

Attacks like Dylan’s have led 19 counties in Florida, including Leon, to pass anti-tethering laws. Dylan’s Law would make the rule uniform across Florida.

“If you don’t have any type of law to be able to contact the authorities, then you are going in circles,” shared Kanady. “So the abuse and the danger continues in a horrible cycle.”

David Fashingbauer played a lead role in creating the anti-tethering legislation currently in place Nassau County.

“Dogs are social creatures and you are creating behavioral problems when you put them on the end of a chain, they become territorial, they become aggressive, so they have no choice but to defend themselves,” he explained.

It is a cycle that leaves the animal in a fight or flight situation, spending 24/7 spent confined to the six feet of a chain.

Fashingbauer has firsthand seen three egregious cases, less than a mile from his home.

“They can become entangled in the tether, they hang themselves, the tethers can cut into them,” expressed the animal advocate. “We have seen them so tight that they have to be surgically removed from that dog, they become a danger to anything or anyone that walks within a range of that tether.”

The other plus to this bill is allowing less calls into animal control centers relating to this issue to allow for taxpayer dollars to be more widely used.

Legislators that are supporting this bill, like State Representative for House District 91 Emily Slosberg, say passing this just makes sense.

“We are creating the floor, the very minimum by which people, what people cannot do to their animals,” she said.

Dylan’s Law is not wanting to remove dogs from their home, but rather educate on alternative ways to contain pets.

Dylan’s Law is currently being heard by several committees and, if not placed on the agenda in the House, the bill will die. AFDA is asking those who support this bill to contact legislators, to have this be heard.

The penalties under this law would be a warning for a first offense, a fine of $250 and 30 days to comply for a second offense and a $500 fine and a mandatory court appearance for a third offense.

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