A new city ordinance that bans dog tethering seems to be working.
In late June, the City Commission approved a law restricting the time pet owners may keep their animals chained outside. The law was passed out of concern for dogs that are kept tethered for long periods.
The law prohibits keeping an animal chained for more than an hour at a time, for a maximum of three hours a day, and with a required three-hour break between chainings.
Right now, the Lawrence Police Department is only issuing warnings during what Sgt. Dan Ward calls an "educational period" for residents to learn about the new law.
"We've had a good response from people," Ward said.
Ward said about 20 warnings had been issued for violation of the law. Those warnings came as a result of residents' reports and routine animal-control patrols.
The informal educational period is about to expire, Ward said, although he wouldn't provide an exact expiration date. When it does, the minimum fines for violation of the ordinance will be $100, and judges will have authority to sentence violators to six months in jail.
Midge Grinstead, director of the Lawrence Humane Society, said the law has worked well and that the Humane Society has been pleased with it.
Grinstead said she had talked to 22 people who called about the new law's effects. Four of those people had kept their dogs continuously on chains and "didn't want to deal with it," she said. Those owners decided to give their animals to the Humane Society.
Other owners accepted free kennels from the organization, and the rest began keeping their dogs inside more often, Grinstead said.