Dogs are pack animals. In the wild, canines live, eat, and sleep with their family. In the absence of other dogs, humans become their "pack." A chained dog feels rejected and doesn't understand why.
Imagine being chained to a tree year after year. You watch the door hoping someone will come play. No one ever does. You long to run, but you can only pace. You shiver in winter and pant in summer. Eventually, you stop barking. You have given up hope.
We have many forms of entertainment: movies, music, friends. Your dog only has YOU. If you can't give a dog a good life, should you have one?
It is up to caring people like you to improve the lives of chained dogs. Some think, "It's none of my business." But it is the business of compassionate people to speak up when living creatures are treated like objects. You will feel good about yourself for helping a chained dog!
As bone-chilling frigid weather has hit the country, it has come to my attention that many people may not have been “cultured” to truly care about their animals as they would family, or they do not realize the suffering they are causing their animals when they leave them in the cold or keep them chained 24/7. In other words, I have noticed many, many dogs left out when temperatures dip below freezing, EVEN when they dipped into the teens with wind chills in the single digits. In particular, I was taken aback recently when I noticed that a couple with whom I am acquainted -- an otherwise educated Church-going, Christian couple -- appear to leave their dog out chained in the back yard 24/7 (used to be dogs, don’t know what happened to the other one). And it appears that they did so even when the polar vortex caused historically low temperatures here for several days! It is a behavior that is as unfathomable to me as leaving my child out in the cold, even if there is a dog house (to their credit, but it is the law).
Almost all articles concerning how to care for your dog or cat in cold weather recommend bringing them inside. “If it is too cold for people, it’s too cold for most dogs.” “Dogs are pack animals. In the wild, they shelter in dens packed together, providing warmth for survival. ……Shutting a dog out of your home is, to them, like being excluded from the pack, which, in their natural world means death!” http://www.ehow.com/how_8092491_care-dogs-cold-weather.html The Humane Society also recommends that you “Don’t leave dogs or cats outdoors when the temperature drops…..A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors.” (Of course, this is notwithstanding breeds “designed” for the cold like Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds and Saint Bernards, etc.) http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/protect_pets_winter.html
More good tips can be found at http://www.loveyourdog.com/cold.html
Even if it wasn’t cold, the Humane Society of the US describes tethering (chaining out) as a permanent method of confinement as inhumane. It is banned on any lands under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture who also calls the practice inhumane. Many, many states and cities prohibit chaining (except for limited periods of time). http://www.unchainyourdog.org/Laws.htm The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has also come out publicly against dog tethering.
This is because dogs live in groups in the wild, and are very, very social. When living with a family, the family becomes their “pack”. (Most folks with dogs know that dogs are highly intelligent and if treated well, become bundles of joy, entertainment, and unconditional love.) A chained dog, however, who spends most of their lives isolated from contact suffer “immense psychological damage. A continuously chained dog usually becomes neurotic, anxious, and aggressive.” Not to mention, their lives contain nothing but boredom, loneliness and misery.
The Centers for Disease Control found that chained dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite. http://www.unchainyourdog.org/documents/Chaining_QA.pdf Even so, some folks would say that this makes them better guard dogs, but the opposite is true. Chained dogs are unable to stop intruders since all they can do is bark, AND since most are unsocialized, they can’t distinguish a real threat from a family friend. In fact of the 109 people killed by chained dogs during a certain period, 99 were children that happen to wander into their reach. The best guard dogs are those who live inside the home and are treated as part of the family, which is how K9 police dogs are raised.
Sadly, in many locations across the country, it is perfectly legal right now to leave an animal in the cold, and chained, as long as they have “shelter”, which has largely come to mean a dog house, water, food, and the tether is at least 10 feet long. Until we can get state laws and/or local ordinances addressing these issues directly, those officials whose responsibility is to investigate inhumane treatment of animals have their hands tied. The most we can do now is lobby our elected officials and educate others. And always, report ANY abuse or neglect (even those described) to your local Humane Society or non-profit rescue organizations.
A petition showing the overwhleming support of caring people can make a huge difference to decision makers when deciding about approving and enforcing laws. Even if I can get our state legislature or city council to pass legislation or ordinances restricting dog tethering and giving humane officers more power to determine when animals are not being provided sufficient shelter in extreme weather, folks, such as the couple mentioned above, may move to another state, where they may continue their dog treatment practices and habits. In other words, their dog or any new one they get will probably be treated in the same inhumane manner. That is why it is important for EVERY state and locality to have the same or similar regulations concerning this important matter.
Every minute that we don't have such legal back-up is another minute that a dog or other animal is suffering needlessly. Every town in the country should have the legal standing and the backbone to stand for animals who don't have a voice and who can't vote. A laudable example is the recent proclamation of the Mayor of St. Louis, MO (Mayor Francis Slay) who took a zero-tolerance policy against leaving pets outdoors in the freezing cold during this recent frigid weather. Teams were sent to canvass neighbors; any pets left outside were confiscated; and the owners were cited. (Amy Worden, St. Louis Inquirer, January 4, 2014)
Please sign my petition, and share as many ways and to as many people as you can, and learn how to work for change where you live at http://www.unchainyourdog.org/LawsHowTo.htm
I LOVE GETTING THE REASONS WHY YOU ARE SIGNING! AND I THINK IT WILL MAKE IT MORE POWERFUL TO THE DECISION-MAKERS WHEN FOLKS HAND THEM THE PETITION. YOU CAN ACTUALLY PRINT THE COMMENTS WITH THE NAMES AND THE PETITION TO HAND TO YOUR MAYOR OR LEGISLATOR. THANKS.