Orange County residents could have at least a year to comply with new dog tethering laws under recommendations by a citizens’ committee that has been studying the issue since January.

On July 11, the committee began polishing recommendations to the Animal Service Advisory Board, and will present a final draft to the board Aug. 15.

The committee preliminarily recommended that the county’s animal ordinance be changed to limitbut not prohibittethering, and that the law not be enforced until after a year of community outreach and a six-month grace period during which only warnings would be issued.

The committee needs to finalize language on several issues, including exemptions for “escape artist” dogs and turnover within the committee.

“I think it is important to add in our report that the animal wellness expert resigned and that a qualified pro-tethering advocate was never appointed,” committee member Suzanne Roy said.

Committee member Alane Koki resigned in April after an Independent investigation revealed Koki’s connections with convicted dogfighters as well as her past as a pit bull breeder. For more information on Koki’s ties to dog fighting, see “Member of Orange County’s chained-dog study panel has ties to dog-fighting.”