ORANGE COUNTY, NC (April 1, 2016)—The Board of Orange County Commissioners has experienced an increase in calls from residents asking them to clarify regulations on dog tethering.  Chair Earl McKee is working with other Board members and with Animal Services to respond to inquiries and to ensure adequate information is available for residents.  

Continuous chaining (or tethering) is not allowed in Orange County.  It is restricted to three hours per day in the unincorporated areas and Hillsborough and prohibited altogether in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. 

The Animal Services Department takes a very active stance toward tethering throughout the county year-round under the existing regulations.  “We are uncertain as the reason for the increase in emails and calls, but the same thing happened last year, which could be the result of warming temperatures,” said Bob Marotto, director of Orange County Animal Services.   

“This is an important issue for us,” said Commissioner McKee.  Marotto added that Orange County was one of the frontrunners of such efforts in the state of North Carolina.  Efforts began in 2008 and within just a few years, the county and the municipalities within it had all adopted tethering ordinances.  “It was a challenging community process but one that has been very successful,” said Marotto. “Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals.” 

Animal Services works in close collaboration with Coalition to Unchain Dogs with respect to tethered dogs.  The nonprofit organization works with residents who are tethering dogs to get them into compliance with Orange County, through fence building.  They also offer spay/neuter assistance and countless educational services, often remaining in close contact with past fence recipients for many years.  

Tethering in many areas has been linked to nuisance barking and some instances of territorial aggression, which can lead to public safety concerns.  Extreme temperatures in summer or winter can also lead to concerns over animal safety for some of those tethered. 

These factors and others were among those taken into consideration during the Commissioners’ and town officials’ decisions to regulate or prohibit tethering.

To view the tethering regulations for Orange County (including Hillsborough), Chapel Hill, and Carrboro, please visit