Make it a priority to unchain dogs and other animals in your state or community. Here are some reasons why:
The United States Department of Agriculture, Federal Register – July, 1996:
"Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog’s movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog’s shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog’s movement and potentially causing injury."
American Veterinary Medical Association, May 15, 2003:
"Confine your dog in a fenced yard or dog run when it is not in the house. Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggressive behavior."
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, a chained dog is 2.8 times more likely to bite than an unchained dog.
Many fatal dog attacks are a result of tethering dogs when humans come within the reach of such dogs. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has reported that 17 percent of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans between 1979 and 1998 were chained on their owner’s property at the time of the attack. In her book Fatal Dog Attacks, Karen Delise (Anubis Press, November 1, 2002) states that 25 percent of fatal attacks are by chained dogs. The victims of such attacks are often children.
Chained dogs can become aggressive due to intense confinement and lack of socialization. They also feel trapped, unable to escape from noises or people or animals that frighten them.
Chained dogs typically lack adequate veterinary care, food, water, or shelter. They are rarely exercised or interact with their families. These dogs suffer from neglect. Even if they are not left without adequate care, they lead an unhappy, frustrating existence for such social animals. Dogs on chains suffer intense boredom, anxiety, even neuroses; their lives are very sad and lonely.
Dogs can choke to death when their chains became entangled with other objects, or develop infections and severe wounds when collars become embedded in their necks.
Lawrence County, Kansas, two years ago, adopted an anti-tethering ordinance prohibiting dog owners from keeping dogs chained outside. In 2005, there were 800 calls to the Lawrence Humane Society concerning cruelty to dogs and dog fighting; in 2006 as of September 1, there were only 260 complaints. City officials attribute the decline in large part to the anti-tethering ordinance.
A ban on chaining and tethering can aid in enforcement of dog fighting laws. Law enforcement can use the ban to stop dog fighting because many of these dogs are kept on chains.
Local Laws That Address Chaining or Tethering
Visit these sites for more information about laws restricting tethering and chaining.
By Laura Allen for the Animal Law Coalition