Animal cruelty should warrant reprimand

Who let the dogs out? Fort Worth.

The city passed an ordinance outlawing the use of a leash, rope, chain or tether to detain an unattended dog, according to the Fort Worth Public Health Department. And local residents who violate the tethering law, which went into effect Jan. 22, could be fined $2,000.

Kudos, Fort Worth. It’s time for the city to intervene and attempt to prevent animal cruelty – whether intentional or not. And, yes, essentially shackling an animal outdoors in the heat or cold for hours at a time is cruel.

The city’s intention is to control animal abuse and animal attacks, said Amy Casas, spokeswoman for the Fort Worth Public Health Department.

Dog owners in Fort Worth, many of whom are students, have a responsibility to care for their animals.

Although some dog owners might argue that chaining up animals protects the neighbors from free-roaming dogs, it only makes the dogs more angry and obnoxious. Even the best animals can become mean when taunted on a daily basis.

Not only does neglect affect the animals, it puts an undeserved burden on the city to pick up the slack.

Last year, 25,500 neglected animals were impounded by Fort Worth animal control officers, and 70 percent of those animals died in shelters, according to the Public Health Department.

The city can’t be expected to take responsibility for every neglected animal in Fort Worth. And it can’t rely on every dog owner to abide by the law. But without a city ordinance to regulate animal care, nothing will change.

Fort Worth has the right idea.

Web editor Lindsey Bever for the editorial board.