KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville City Council will hear the second reading of a proposed ban on unsupervised tethering at their meeting Tuesday night. The only council member to oppose to ban last time around was the CEO of Young Williams Animal Center.

The proposed ordinance would ban the act of leaving a dog chained up outside and would require a chain to be at least 10 feet long for any dog who is tethered with supervision.

The ordinance was written by the Knoxville Animal Welfare Alliance and was initially voted on at their meeting on January 11. The council voted 8-1 to support the ban, and co-founder Julia Roy is hopeful it will be passed.

“The ultimate goal is to just improve quality of life for animals in our community, also for animal control to have more enforceable guidelines in the ordinance,” Roy said.

Janet Testerman is the only council member to oppose the ban and is also the CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville. She fears that the proposed ban would disproportionately affect low-income pet owners.

“It’s not about cruelty and neglect, it’s about lack of access to resources,” Testerman said.

She said that banning unsupervised tethering could actually worsen the quality of life for some dogs if they are then made to stay inside at all times. She proposed an alternate ordinance that she thinks would better include all pet owners.

“The ordinance that we proposed was to elevate the humane standard of tethering. No fixed-point tethering, but also elevating the standards of food, water, shelter, shade and care,” Testerman said.

Roy does not think that a pet owner’s socioeconomic status would come into play based on other communities that have enacted similar ordinances.

“We have spoken with 20+ other jurisdictions that have implemented this and they haven’t reported an increase in surrenders to the shelter, if they have it’s been minimal,” Roy said.

Roy also thinks there is a common misconception about the consequences some who violated the proposed ban would face. She said animal control will issue two warnings, followed by issuing a fine. However, under no circumstance will the pet be taken from the owner under this ordinance.

Despite this, Testerman is worried that pet owners who are unable to comply with the ordinance will end up having to surrender their pets.

If passed, the ordinance will go into effect on July 1st, 2023.