Chained Dog

Chained Dog Cruelity


Imagine being chained to a tree year after year. You watch the back door hoping someone will come out to play with you. No one ever does. You long to run and stretch your legs, but all you can do is pace back and forth over your small patch of packed dirt. Sometimes you get tangled up in your chain. You shiver in the winter cold and pant in the hot summer sun. Fleas biting your skin are a constant torture. Eventually, you stop barking for attention. You have given up hope.

Chaining is not only inhumane for dogs, but has taken a severe toll on this nations children as well. In the period from October 2003 until October 2004, there were at least 20 children killed or seriously injured by chained dogs across the country. Chained dogs, unsocialized with humans, can become very territorial of their tiny space, and any two year old who wanders into this space can be attacked and killed before adults can intervene. A recent attack in July of 2004 lead to the death of 2 year old Patricia J. Anderson in Cook County, Georgia. Patricia was attacked and killed by a bulldog mix who was chained behind a house owned by friends of her mother.

Is there a problem with continuous chaining or tethering?  Yes, the practice is both inhumane and a threat to the safety of the confined dog, other animals, and humans.

Why is tethering dogs inhumane? Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals. A dog kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months, or even years suffers immense psychological damage. An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and often aggressive.

How does tethering or chaining dogs pose a danger to humans?  Dogs tethered for long periods can become highly aggressive. Dogs feel naturally protective of their territory; when confronted with a perceived threat, they respond according to their fight-or-flight instinct. A chained dog, unable to take flight, often feels forced to fight, attacking any unfamiliar animal or person who unwittingly wanders into his or her territory.

Why is tethering dangerous to dogs? In addition to the psychological damage wrought by continuous chaining, dogs forced to live on a chain make easy targets for other animals, humans, and biting insects. A chained animal may suffer harassment and teasing from insensitive humans, stinging bites from insects, and, in the worst cases, attacks by other animals. Chained dogs are also easy targets for thieves looking to steal animals for sale to research institutions or to be used as training fodder for organized animal fights. Finally, dogs’ tethers can become entangled with other objects, which can choke or strangle the dogs to death.

Are tethered dogs otherwise treated well?  Rarely does a chained or tethered dog receive sufficient care. Tethered dogs suffer from sporadic feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate veterinary care, and extreme temperatures. During snow storms, these dogs often have no access to shelter. During periods of extreme heat, they may not receive adequate water or protection from the sun. What’s more, because their often neurotic behavior makes them difficult to approach, chained dogs are rarely given even minimal affection. Tethered dogs may become “part of the scenery” and can be easily ignored by their owners.

But how else can people confine dogs?  The HSUS recommends that all dogs be kept indoors at night, taken on regular walks, and otherwise provided with adequate attention, food, water, and veterinary care. If an animal must be housed outside at certain times, he should be placed in a suitable pen with adequate square footage and shelter from the elements.

What about attaching a dog’s leash to a “pulley run”?  Attaching a dog’s leash to a long line “such as a clothesline or a manufactured device known as a pulley run”and letting the animal have a larger area in which to explore is preferable to tethering the dog to a stationary object. However, many of the same problems associated with tethering still apply, including attacks on or by other animals, lack of socialization, and safety.

Be humane, don’t chain!

Read a lot more about chaining and things you can do to prevent this horrible treatment of dogs, including how to speak to an owner of a chained dog, and methods of confining a dog without chaining.

The following web sites provide a wealth of information and suggestions, and are quoted in the above article:

Compiled and edited by Ron Lueth, Pet Guardian Angels of America