A dog forced to live on a chain or tether is a sad, lonely and frustrated dog, denied any pleasure or benefit of being a loyal companion animal who craves social interaction.
But emotional deprivation is only part of the problem. Dogs can so easily become entangled in their chains, leaving them cut off from any available food, water or shelter.
"Our cruelty investigators regularly encounter dogs that have died from starvation and dehydration - especially in the summer months -- after having twisted their chains or ropes to the point where they could no longer reach their food or water bowls," said Sherry Ferguson, executive director of the Houston Humane Society.
"And, a chained dog can strangle to death much more quickly than one might think. We do not condone leaving a dog unattended on a chain or tether," Ms. Ferguson added.
Trolley systems, or "pulley runs," are also dangerous and similar to fixed point chaining in the following ways:
With no escape from danger, chained dogs feel vulnerable and often become aggressive as a means of defense. In fact, a chained dog is three times more likely to bite than a dog who enjoys humane living conditions, good care and adequate socialization.
Chained dogs often lack proper nutrition and medical attention. Animal control officers report that many of the dogs they take into custody due to neglect and abuse are chained dogs who have been left for days on end without food and water, and often are in need of medical attention.
Chained dogs are especially vulnerable to heartworms, parasites and insect bites.
Neck abrasions and infections from chains, ropes or ill-fitting collars are also the plight of many chained dogs, some even found with collars or neck-holds grown into their skin.
To ensure safety and a good quality of life for your dog, the Network encourages you to keep your dog with you inside your home whenever possible and to provide daily exercise and fresh air in a securely-fenced yard or by walking your dog on a hand-held leash.
When outdoor confinement is necessary, the Network recommends that you provide a secure, fenced enclosure that is soundly constructed with a locked gate. Adequate space for exercise with shade, shelter, food and clean water are essential to your dog's well being. Please make sure you check on your dog often and provide companionship as much as possible.
Remember, dogs live for love and affection just as much as people do. Don't let a backyard dog be "out of site, out of mind." Solitary confinement, whether it is on a chain or living alone in a backyard, is no life for your best friend.
Fort Worth, TX - 1.22.08 | The Fort Worth City Council today approved an ordinance banning dog tethering. The new ordinance, which becomes effective this week, makes it illegal to use a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable or other device to attach an unattended dog to a stationary object or trolley system. A dog still must be confined within a secure enclosure at all times.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
An ordinance to ban the chaining and tethering of unattended dogs was passed by the Austin City Council on June 7, 2007. The new law took effect October 1, 2007.
To learn more about this ordinance, please visit chainfreeaustin.org.
And, please visit the following websites for more information on dog chaining and tethering:
The Facts About Chaining or Tethering Dogs - from The Humane Society of the United States
Unchain Your Dog
Mothers Against Dog Chaining
Dogs Deserve Better