Burke County, GA Anti-Chaining & Tethering Ordinance Needed NOW!

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UPDATE: The puppy above was sold by the owner and family members claim mother dog was given away.

**The dog in the photo above was living in Burke County, GA, chained, trying to care for her puppy. This must stop NOW.

Attention Burke County lawmakers, decision makers, and law enforcement:

It is past time to have an ordinance in place for anti-tethering and anti-chaining of animals, specifically dogs, in Burke County, GA.  Although Burke County is known as the "Bird Dog Capital of the World," the inhumane practice of chaining dogs in the area is also well-known. This is an inhumane, archaic, detrimental practice for animals who are forced to live at the end of a chain their entire lives. Some dogs in Burke County have done so for more than a decade.

One dog, named Nitro, recently died in Burke County at the end of a chain where he lived for many years in weeds, in the elements, and in severe cold without attention or care from his owners. It is time to end this practice for once and for all to protect animals in this county, like Nitro, who do not have a voice. We MUST be the voice for them.

Chained dogs—like all animals who are left outside and unsupervised—are also susceptible to the cruel acts of passersby. Chained dogs are tortured, poisoned, shot, stabbed, stolen, used to “bait” fighting dogs, sold into the abject misery of life in a laboratory, set on fire, and abused in countless other ways. Others freeze to death during cold snaps after being ignored by heartless owners for years. This is a FACT.

(Animal rescuers and concerned citizens of Burke County, GA are willing to assist with the formulation, enactment, and enforcement of this ordinance. Contact Sharon McAlevy here on Change.org for more information).


To put it simply:

1. Tethered and chained dogs have a negative impact on property values in Burke County and has a negative impact on the overall appearance of the properties. This is a current and real fact in Burke County as some organizations will not conduct business in areas that have chained animals. 

2. Tethered and chained dogs pose a very real hazard for children and adults. It is a known fact that dogs become aggressive if tethered which has led to many serious, and sometimes fatal, dog attacks. Children are the most common victims of chained dog attacks. In the last 7 years, 48% of Georgia cases involved children bitten by chained dogs. Per CDC, of those children KILLED by dogs, almost 30% had wandered too close to a chained dog. 

 According to Karen Delise, author of Fatal Dog Attacks: The Stories Behind the Statistics, 79% of the 431 people killed by dogs in the U.S. between 1965 and 2001 were children under the age of 12. The AVMA agrees: “Children are the most common victims of serious dog bites.” In her book, Delise suggests that children fall victim to chained dogs so often because they “have … the inability to recognize or comprehend the significance of an aggressive display by a dog.” As a child approaches a chained dog, the dog gives a warning sign—such as a growl or a stiffened posture—that the child does not recognize. As the child continues to approach, according to Delise, “the dog may consider this a challenge or a threat. Chained dogs, having no option to retreat, and lash out at this perceived threat or encroachment.”

3. Tethered and chained dogs present a real concern for potential investors in Burke County with respect to rental property. With tethered or chained dogs in an area, the noise, safety, and other negative issues arise for potential renters. This will have a negative impact on investors if they cannot rent their properties. Therefore, they will invest their money in neighboring counties (such as Richmond) that DO have these ordinances in place. 

4. Reports from several Animal Control officers in counties with tethering ordinances in place shows that their workload was actually reduced due to penalties and fines in place for offenses which are already addressed by the ordinance. 

“We [passed] this ordinance for two main reasons: (1) the safety of our citizens and (2) for the humane treatment of the animals. On the issue of safety, our records indicated that 51 percent of our dog bites were from dogs [who] were confined on chains or had been chained and had broken loose. … I observed that most of our dogs [who] were chained were receiving inhumane treatment.”
—Elaine Modlin, animal control officer, Laurinburg, North Carolina

5. Of course the HUGE negative impact of CONSTANT tethering/chaining is that it is inhumane and abusive to the dog. Issues that result from chaining / tethering dogs, are strangulation, starvation/dehydration, exposure to the elements, entanglement, unwanted litters of puppies, exposure to non-domesticated animals without escape capabilities, and the list continues. The research shows numerous issues that result from chained or tethered dogs.

"The short answer, according to renowned animal behavior specialist Shelby Marlo, is that 'dogs who are forced to live their lives at the end of a chain suffer from severe psychological, emotional, and behavioral effects' ", PETA website,


The SPIRIT of this Ordinance is to prevent chaining and tethering of dogs and the education of residents of this county on the negative effects of chaining and tethering to prevent these events from happening in the future.


*** If you have concerns about people being able to afford fencing in their yards, the dogs do not need to stay OUTSIDE and there are groups in Georgia that will build fencing for little to no cost to unchain the dogs.  If dog owners cannot afford to fence part of their yards, they are to bring them inside. Many apartment dwellers find ways to keep their dogs inside with no problems. 

**Concerns about the expense of ENFORCING this law: this can be offset by having fines for non-compliance but, more importantly, the enforcement has largely come from local residents who see chained or tethered dogs and report them to the proper authorities which then allows officers to focus on issuing warnings or citations and reduces the need for them to investigate and enforce this ordinance themselves.  

Thank you for taking the time to consider this much-needed ordinance. Your Taxpayers and Constituents Appreciate your Concern in this matter.