By Joan Gaylord
Things got loud in Ossining Saturday when residents and neighbors gathered outside Village Hall to protest the village’s recently enacted tether law. “Honk if you love dogs!” read one of the protestor’s signs and many passing motorists honked their support.
The law, passed by the village Board of Trustees last October, regulates when and for how long a dog may be tied up outside. The protestors, however, took issue with the regulations outlined in the new law which they say protects dog owners more than it protects dogs. The new regulations allow owners to tether dogs for a maximum of 12 hours in a 24-hour period during any weather conditions except when the National Weather Service issues an alert.
“It is a bad law,” said Deborah Pangle, one of the organizers of the protest. “We are so disappointed in what they passed under the guise of caring. It is disingenuous.”
Others said they fear that, now that the town has enacted a law, they will move on to other issues rather than improving the new legislation. Their concern, they said, grows out of instances in town when they have witnessed dogs tied outdoors all day in hot or freezing weather. When they have called the local police department to voice their concern and ask the officers to intervene, they have been told the dog owners are complying with the law.
“It is heartbreaking,” said Genee Roberts, of Tarrytown, who joined the protest on Saturday. She cited the lack of protection for animals across Westchester County. “I would like to see more residents take a half hour of their time and write to the County officials, write to their town officials, and tell them this is not acceptable.”
Nikita, a dog rescued from an abusive situation out of state, also joined the protestors. Her human Katie Maduras pointed to the scars on the dog’s neck caused by the rope that had tethered the dog for years. Maduras had worked with a local rescue organization to adopt the dog who, she commented, has responded well to her new home.
“She’s just so chill,” she said. Indeed, as the people protested and the drivers honked, the dog settled in to join activity.
Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity could not be reached for comment.