Dogs may be the most beloved animals on earth. Most of us keep our dogs close to us. They play outside but also snuggle with us on the couch or lay in bed to watch TV or read. Dogs keep us safe by barking if they hear something outside. What I can’t wrap my head around is why some people are chaining dogs outside 24/7.
Chaining Dogs Outside 24/7 is Inhumane
CHAINING DOGS IS INHUMANE
Chaining dogs outside does a disservice to them. Dogs are pack animals. They look at their human families as their pack. Leaving a dog tied outside 24/7 is like someone putting one of us in solitary confinement 24/7 with exposure to the elements. Take a minute and think about not having anyone to talk to or interact with and dealing with the extreme heat and cold. Being in this environment long-term has a psychological effect on a dog.
THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF CHAINING DOGs
A chained dog is fearful. It can’t get away from any person or animal that comes near, so it feels threatened. It’s called “boundary frustration”. A chained dog can only go so far. Its world is just one small circle. Have you ever wondered why so many children are bitten by dogs that have been left out on a chain? Dogs will bite out of fear. So children who are not taught to leave these poor dogs alone end up getting bitten. Unfortunately, it then becomes the dog’s fault. In fact, the fault lies with the owner that tied the dog up outside in the first place.
Furthermore, chaining dogs outside for prolonged periods can make a dog anti-social. Have you ever seen a dog that didn’t respond to humans? I have and it’s heartbreaking. Keeping a dog in solitude will make a dog’s mind shut down. The dog doesn’t wag its tail or hold up its ears. It doesn’t respond to petting or even kind words. A dog in this state of mind needs a lot of love and patience as well a long time to heal so it can start acting like a dog again.
WHAT IF WE WERE CHAINED OUTSIDE 24/7
Let’s look at it from a personal perspective. Many years ago, people were put in insane asylums for things like dementia, anorexia, mental retardation, epilepsy and PTSD among other things. Now think if you had a similar condition and you lived during that time. They would take you and put you in a room, just a room, and lock you up. How would you feel … alone, stressed, depressed? Exactly! Well, that is how chained dogs feel. These poor people who were locked up may not have been mentally ill when they entered the institution, but they certainly were after living there for a while.
“DOGS DESERVE BETTER” IS DOING THEIR PART TO STOP CHAINING DOGS
There is a wonderful organization called Dogs Deserve Better. They work to free dogs from chains and pens. Dogs Deserve Better wants to bring dogs inside to live with the family where they belong. They have a national rescue coordinator that works with volunteers all over America. Since 2002, Dogs Deserve Better has been working to improve the lives of chained and caged dogs.
THE USDA IS ALSO AGAINST CHAINING DOGS
Simply put, chaining dogs is inhumane. In July of 1996, the USDA issued the following statement: “Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog’s movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog’s shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog’s movement and potentially causing injury.”
CHAINING DOGS IS DANGEROUS AND CAN BE DEADLY
Dogs have been known to choke themselves to death or end up hanging from a deck on a chain. Have you ever seen a dog with an embedded collar? That is usually a by-product of a dog that has been chained. People who chain these dogs rarely pay attention to them, much less notice that the collar is embedded.
ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO THINK TWICE BEFORE GETTING A DOG
I’ve never understood why people get dogs and then chain them out in the yard. It breaks my heart! Getting a new dog is a huge decision. Dogs that are adopted on a whim usually end up outside on a chain when they reach six months of age. I can’t stress how important training is, but that’s another article!
ANTI-CHAINING LAWS EXIST BUT THEY ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN
Only 22 states in the United States have no chaining laws. PETA has lists of states and municipalities in the United States showing what kind of, if any, legislation exists regarding chaining dogs. You can check this link to see where your state or city stands on chaining dogs.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO STOP CHAINING DOGS
Essential changes must be made to behaviors and laws. One issue is that dogs in many parts of the United States are considered “possessions”. Much like a lawn chair, the dog belongs to the person. In the eyes of the law as long as the dog has shelter and water nothing is done. Education is key especially to young people who should be able to convince their parents that chaining dogs outside is cruel. Municipal and government ordinances can be put into place but they must be enforced! Furthermore, animal control departments in cities need to be on duty longer than 40 hours per week. With budget cuts in many municipalities volunteers may be needed to help animal control and the police if that is possible. We need to talk to our neighbors and friends and do what we can to educate people to save these poor dogs.