Boardman tethering law could be challenged

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – With the snow and freezing temperatures, keeping dogs safe inside has become a priority for many. New tethering laws are being passed, but Boardman’s new legislation could have a problem with the wording.

Boardman Township’s tethering law requires residents to bring their dogs inside during extreme cold and heat. A key phrase in the law uses the term Cold Weather Advisory. The law states in part:  “No person shall negligently allow a dog to be tethered outdoors…if a heat or cold advisory or a severe weather warning has been issued by the National Weather Service.”

The problem with that wording is there is no such thing as a Cold Weather Advisory. However, phrasing or not, Boardman Township Administrator Jason Loree said residents are complying with the new rule.

“It’s been pretty good. When people get a knock on the door from a police officer, they typically respond well to taking care of the dog,” Loree said.

Attorney Dave Betras said even though they’ve had success with compliance, the language of the law still needs to be changed.

“I know what they are trying to do, but the statutes are strictly construed against the governmental agency, so anyone trying to use that to try and protect a dog is not going to be able to because there is no word called Cold Advisory. They need to fix that right away,” Betras said.

After showing Loree the different warnings and advisories from the National Weather Service, he says there is enough there to have them look further into the issue.

“We are probably going to end up stopping in Boardman Court and talking with the judge to make sure he is comfortable. If we have to do any changes with the language, and he understands the intent,” Loree said.

While Boardman looks over the current law, other townships are creating their own.