Dr. Drew Luce Appointed Animal Advisor for Dulles District

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Luce has been appointed as the Animal Advisor for the Dulles District by Matt Letourneau, Dulles District Board of Supervisor. Dr. Luce, as well as the Animal Advisors from the other eight Districts within the County, will form the Loudoun County Animal Advisory Committee.

The purpose of the committee is to:

  • Advise the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors on the effectiveness of the Loudoun County Department of Animal Services
  • Serve as an advisor to the Director of the Loudoun County Department of Animal Services
  • Work to promote a public awareness of the Loudoun County Department of Animal Services
  • Serve as ombudsman for animal control problems

Click Here for Supervisor Matt Letourneau’s first Newsletter making the announcement and providing updates for the Dulles District.

Have a Heart for Chained Dogs

“Have a Heart for Chained Dogs” will be observed this month from February 5-12, 2012.

What’s Wrong With Tethering?  Dogs are social beings that thrive on interaction with humans and other animals. Tethered dogs are often the victims of abuse and neglect, suffering from sporadic feedings, empty water bowls, inadequate veterinary care and exposure to weather extremes. They are forced to eat, sleep, urinate and defecate in the same confined area, which goes against their natural instincts. Tethered dogs also suffer neck injuries from collars that have become embedded into their skin—some even strangle to death when chains become entangled with other objects. Chained in place, they are also helpless to defend themselves against abusive people, stray dogs and wild animals who may invade their space. In addition, unaltered, chained female dogs are likely to attract strays, leading to unwanted litters.

What Are the Effects of Long-Term Tethering on Dogs? Tethering for short time periods, using appropriate equipment, in an animal-friendly environment (access to water, shelter and toys, for example) is generally harmless. However, keeping a dog on a tether for the majority of the day often leads to negative behavior changes. Tethered dogs run a high risk of becoming “stir crazy” due to the inability to release their energy and socialize with others. With dogs, boredom often leads to frustration, which, in turn, often leads to aggression. An additional contributor to aggression is that, given only a small area in which to dwell, tethered dogs are known to become irrationally protective of that area because it is essentially their whole world. Studies have shown that chained or tethered dog is nearly three times more likely to bite than a dog that is not chained or tethered.

“Chaining and Tethering.” ASPCA.org. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Web.  5 February 2012. < http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/advocacy-center/animal-laws-about-the-issues/tethering.aspx>.

There are laws in our quad-state area that specifically discuss tethering or chaining your dog and the penalties for not obeying the laws. Below are excerpts from each state.

VirginiaClass 4 misdemeanor, VA ST§ 3.2-6500

Each owner shall provide for each of his companion animals adequate space. For purposes of tethering “adequate space” means a tether that: is appropriate to the age and size of the animal; is attached to the animal by a properly applied collar, halter, or harness; configured so as to protect the animal from injury and prevent the animal or tether from becoming entangled with other objects or animals; ius at least three times the length of the animal, as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail.

Maryland Misdemeanor subject to imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000 orboth, MD CRIM LAW § 10-623

A person may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the movement of the dog; Or one that uses a collar that: is made primarily of metal; is not at least as large as the circumference of the dog’s neck plus 1 inch; that restricts the access of the dog to suitable and sufficient clean water or appropriate shelter; in unsafe or unsanitary conditions; that causes injury to the dog.

West Virginia – Misdemeanor with fine of not less than $300 nor more than $2,000 or confined in jail not more than six months, WV ST§ 61-8-19

It is unlawful for any person to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cruelly chain or tether an animal.

District of ColumbiaImprisonment in jail not exceeding 180 days, or by fine not exceeding $250, or by both, DC ST§ 22.1001

For the purposes of this section, “cruelly chains” means attaching an animal to a stationary object or a pulley by means of a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or similar restraint under circumstances that may endanger its health, safety, or well-being. Cruelly chains includes a tether that:  Causes the animal to choke; does not permit the animal to reach food, water, shade, dry ground; does not permit the animal to escape harm.

Wisch, Rebecca F. Overview of State Dog Tethering Laws.” animallaw.info. Animal Legal & Historical Center. Michigan State University College of Law. 2009/2011. Web. 5 February 2012. < http://www.animallaw.info/articles/ovustetherlaws.htm>.


Pet Microchipping

It is a terrible feeling to have a lost pet. That is why we believe Microchipping your pet is so important in locating the owners of pets that are found in the neighborhood or picked up by animal control. Also very important is registering your pet once they receive a microchip. If your pet has a microchip, but you have not registered yet, please visit Home Again’s website to do so. If you need assistance in doing this, please email us and we will be happy to register your pet for you.

If your pet does not have a microchip, the Vet Tech Club of Northern Virginia Community College Loudoun Campus is hosting a Dog Wash on Saturday, April 30th. In addition to dog baths, they are offering rabies shots and free microchipping. For more information, please visit their posting here.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is alive and growing in pets, children and adults! In fact, the number of adults and children that have been diagnosed with Lyme disease is now receiving the attention of Virginia’s Governor who has appointed a task force to help deal with the Lyme disease epidemic. During the task force hearing in Fairfax this week, Governor McDonnell has designated May as Lyme Awareness Month.

All of us, at Aldie Veterinary Hospital, are very concerned about the growing number of reported Lyme disease cases in dogs. The National Capital Lyme Disease Association sites that dogs are 50-100 times more likely to encounter disease-carrying ticks than people. These ticks then enter your home or come into contact with you or your children. Here is your best defense in protecting your pets and family from Lyme disease:

  • Vaccinate your dog this Spring with the Lyme vaccine.
  • Use a flea and tick control product, such as Frontline Plus on your pet YEAR ROUND.
  • Check your dogs, cats, children and yourself regularly for ticks. Make sure to examine your pet between toes, behind ears, under armpits and around tail and head as ticks like to hide in these areas.

A great resource for information about tick-borne disease in animals may be found at dogsandticks.com. In addition, we will be providing additional information regarding Lyme disease in your pet in our next issue of the Aldie Vet Pet Gazette.

Pet First Aid

The American Red Cross has deemed April as the National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. With the warmer months fast approaching, please be mindful of the dangers that your pet may face.

  • Heat Stroke
  • Plants & Flowers
  • Jumping or falling out open windows
  • Locked in vehicles reaching extreme heat

We encourage you to click on this link to learn more about keeping your pets safe and sound while still enjoying your summer.