Causes of Roaming Pets
1. Boredom or Loneliness
Dogs that are locked in a home or a small yard for hours at a time without any attention or stimulation can get bored or lonely. This can cause them to feel the need to bolt or escape either to relieve themselves, look for food or find entertainment. Sometimes running away can become “self-rewarding” behavior. When they run away, they get to roam wherever they please, dig in the neighbors yard, chase cats and hang out with other dogs. Therefore, this behavior can be positively reinforced every time they run away.
2. They’re in an unfamiliar home or new location.
Dogs are habitual creatures and value routine. When they are in an unfamiliar location and get loose, it is likely that they will run in the direction of home.
3. Dogs are following their instinctual desires.
Dogs are creatures that enjoy being part of a pack and they also have very strong predatory instincts. Therefore a dog that is left alone for too long may escape to go in search of company. They may also want the freedom to follow a tasty scent or to find other dogs to chase squirrels with. Furthermore, un-neutered dogs may go roaming in search of a mate.
4. They are reacting to a frightening sound or situation.
When dogs are confronted with frighteningly loud noises such as thunder, loud beeping or fireworks, they may feel the need to escape their confines to get away from the sound. When unexpected events occur such as sudden rain or bright lights they may feel the urge to get to safety.
5. There’s access to an easy escape.
If there is a gate or fence that is low enough to jump over, broken enough to fit through or easy enough to open, chances are your dog will try and escape. The best thing you can do is double check your backyard to make sure it is fully enclosed and secure.
California Health and Safety Code Section 122335 HSC: Unlawful Tethering Of A Dog
- Definition and Elements of the Crime
Many dog owners must figure out what to do with their dogs when they are not home. In the past, it was not uncommon to keep dogs tied up outside of the home or in other areas. However, restraining a dog for long periods of time in this manner can be detrimental to the animal’s health and well-being. As a result, unlawfully tethering a dog is illegal under California Health & Safety Code Section 122335 HSC and violations of this statute can lead to criminal convictions.
In order to prove that a defendant is guilty of unlawfully tethering a dog, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:
- The defendant tethered, fastened, chained, tied or restrained or caused a dog to be tethered, fastened, chained, tied or restrained.
- The tether was attached to a doghouse, tree, fence or any other stationary object.
California Health & Safety Code Section 122335 HSC allows a person to tether a dog in the following circumstances:
- Where the dog is attached to a running line, pulley or trolley system. The dog cannot be attached to this type of system by means of a choke chain or pinch collar.
- Where the dog is tethered pursuant to the requirements of a camping or recreational area
- Where the dog is secured for a reasonable period so the owner can complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be restrained. A reasonable period is a period of time less than three hours within a 24-hour period.
- Where the dog is tethered while the owner engages in the business of herding sheep or cattle or the business of cultivating agricultural products.Penalties for tethering a dog under HS 122335
Tethering a dog under California Health & Safety Code 122335 can be charged as either a California infraction or a California misdemeanor, at the prosecutor’s discretion. Charged as an infraction, illegal tethering of a dog can lead to a fine of up to two hundred fifty ($250) for each dog that was unlawfully tied. The penalties for unlawful tethering of a dog as a misdemeanor are: A fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each dog that was unlawfully tethered; and/or Up to six (6) months in county jail.8
Having a dog that constantly bolts and runs away can be frustrating and exhausting. It can be tough to eliminate this problem but the steps listed above can definitely help you avoid it as much as possible. When Fluffy does finally come home covered in mud, smelling of sewage and completely spent from the day’s excursion, you can finally breathe a long sigh of relief. Even dogs know, there’s no place like home.