Steven Brown has spent 32 years ridding Whitehall's streets of a few bad men.

Now, he is looking out for a few of man's best friends.

Brown, Whitehall's animal control officer, hopes the city's soon-to-be-enacted law that prohibits overnight tethering of unattended dogs is followed by others.

"It's a terrible life," Brown said about the dogs he's seen whose owners appear to leave them outdoors on tethers "24/7."

Brown retired in 2014 from the Whitehall Division of Police, then in January 2017 accepted the position of animal control officer.

Just as he did during his days as a police officer and detective, he drives the city's streets, responding to calls from concerned residents, watching for dogs at large and observing the living conditions of dogs.

"Some dogs are left on leashes 6 to 10 feet long and that is their existence," Brown said.

In some instances, such dogs pose a public nuisance only because of frequent barking, Brown said.

"It's their only outlet," he said.

But Brown sees a bigger problem: a potential for injury if the animal escapes.

These dogs, he said, are likely to have limited interaction with humans or other dogs -- and that lack of socialization means greater potential to act aggressively if they get loose.

Whitehall already had legislation on the books that addressed the tethering of dogs for extended periods of time, but it was "unenforceable," Brown said.

The city's previous law ordered: "No dog shall be chained or tethered for more than 12 consecutive hours in a 24-hour period."

"But it wasn't enforceable, because I can't monitor (a property) 12 straight hours," Brown said.

Following models in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati that prohibit tethering between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., Brown asked Zach Woodruff, Whitehall's director of public service, to present legislation to City Council to amend city code concerning animal control so as to prohibit tethering from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The prohibition equals that of Bexley, the only other central Ohio suburb Brown said he is aware of that has an overnight prohibition.

Whitehall City Council members March 6 unanimously adopted an ordinance amending the city code as Brown requested; the measure passed 6-0, with Councilman Wes Kantor absent.

Mayor Kim Maggard said she signed the legislation March 7; it's set to go into effect March 27.

Violation is a fourth-degree misdemeanor, with a potential punishment of up to 30 days in jail or a fine of up to $250.

Whitehall's new law also adds a provision that prohibits the tethering of a dog "in the event of a severe cold or heat advisory issued by a local, state or national weather service for the area in which the animal is harbored."

The Columbus and Bexley models also include provisions for extreme weather.

Brown said the new law should help him deal with dog owners who have not responded to warnings or citations.

"This legislation enables code enforcement and police officers to have a wider variety of tools to support the care and protection of animals that depend upon their owners for their shelter," Maggard said.

Brown said he worked successfully with three dog owners last year who habitually left dogs in harsh conditions, and now is working with five others to improve living conditions for their dogs.

Councilman Chris Rodriguez said the new law provides for "more humane treatment of pets" and the provision regarding extreme weather should "eliminate some of the conditions we see where pets are overwhelmed."

"It was the right thing to do," City Council President Jim Graham said.

No residents spoke about the legislation during the three separate meetings at which it was considered, Graham said. Reaction on social media generally has been positive.

Whitehall residents who have concerns about animal-related issues may call Brown at 614-237-8612.