What is meant by "chaining" or "tethering" dogs?
These terms refer to the practice of fastening a dog to a stationary object or stake, usually in the owner's backyard, as a means of keeping the animal under control. These terms do not refer to the periods when an animal is walked on a leash.
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 harrassment form passers-by, stinging bites from insects, and 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 animals fights. Finally, dogs' tethers can become entangled with objects, which can choke or strangle the dogs to death.
Why is tethering dogs inhumane?
Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals. In the wild, dogs and wolves live, eat, sleep, and hunt with a family of other canines. Dogs are genetically determined to live in a group.
A dog kept chained alone 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. In many cases, the necks of chained dogs become raw and covered with sores, the result of improperly fitted collars and the dogs' constant yanking and straining to escape confinement. Some chained dogs have collars embedded in their necks, the result of years of neglect at the end of a chain. Chained dogs frequently become entangled in their chains, too, and unable to access food, water, and shelter.
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 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.
Numerous attacks on people by tethered dogs have been documented. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reported that 17% of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans between 1979 and 1998 were restrained on their owners' property at the time of the attack, and the book Fatal Dog Attacks states that 25% of fatal attacks were inflicted by chained dogs of many different breeds.
Tragically, the victims of such attacks are often children who are unaware of the chained dog's presence until it is too late. Furthermore, a tethered dog who finally does get loose from his chains may remain aggressive, and is likely to chase and attack unsuspecting passer-bys and pets.
Why should a community outlaw the continuous chaining or tethering of dogs?
Animal control and humane agencies receive calls every day from citizens concerned about animals in these cruel situations. Animal control officers, paid at taxpayer expense, spend many hours trying to educate pet owners about the dangers and cruelty involved in this practice. Regulations against chaining also give officers a tool to crack down on illegal dog fighting, since many fighting dogs are kept on chains.
A chained animal is caught in a vicious cycle; frustrated by long periods of boredom and social isolation, he becomes a neurotic shell of his former self - further deterring human interaction and kindness. In the end, the helpless dog can only suffer the frustration of watching the world go by in insolation - a cruel fate for what is by nature a highly social animal. Any city, county, or state that bans this practice is a safer, more humane community.