SALEM -- A law designed to restrict the use of tethers on animals was signed by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber Thursday.
House Bill 2783 takes effect in January. It limits the time an animal can be tethered to 10 hours in a 24-hour period, or 15 hours if the tether attaches to a line, pulley or trolley.
The law forbids the use of tethers in a configuration that entangles and endangers animals. It forbids use of pinching and choking collars.
The law was pushed by the group Fences for Fido, and gained support with the Oregon Humane Society.
"This is a really historic day," said OHS spokeswoman Sharon Harmon. "Because this means dogs will no longer be allowed to live out their lives, day after day, at the end of a chain."
The law has some exemptions. It applies to the person with custodial control of the animal. It exempts people who stay directly by the animal. It does not apply to animals getting transported, used in a hunt, herding and protecting livestock, at a campground or other recreational area, and for dog sledding.
The law requires "adequate bedding" that keeps animals dry and reasonably clean with normal body temperatures. Also required is "adequate shelter" that protects animals from the elements and prevents injury.
Crawl spaces, steps, decks, stoops and the underside of vehicles are not adequate shelters. Nor are carriers and crates used for transport, or shelters that fall apart in the elements. You may not keep an animal in a vehicle to its detriment.
Shelters with chain link floors are illegal unless the use is for birds. Shelter surroundings must be free of impediments that could harm an animal.
Violations are a Class B misdemeanor.
Kitzhaber also signed a second law, giving judges the option to consider severity and cruelty when sentencing someone for animal abuse.
KGW reporter Pat Dooris contributed to this report.