We are in the middle of Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week. If you are like me, it breaks your heart that such a week is even necessary. Sadly, it is.
There are many reasons why a dog can end up on a chain outside. Some owners who chain their dogs outside do care about their dogs but cannot afford a fence, so they believe that they are doing the right thing in letting their dog spend time outside on a chain instead of taking the dog on multiple walks a day and seeking out dog parks and other areas for periodic romps.
The bad thing about this is that even spending the daytime hours or part of the day on a chain is not good for dogs physically or mentally. A theft or tragedy like the dog accidentally hanging itself can occur in a matter of minutes. Over time dogs on chains become bored, anxious, aggressive and more likely to bite than dogs who are not chained.
I believe that there is a lot of possibility to educate people in this category, to teach them that their dogs will be happier and safer by going on either multiple short walks each day or a nice long walk for exercise. I understand that the chain might just be for potty breaks, so it’s important to let them know that a long lead is a better alternative for potty breaks, so that the owner is outside with the dog to prevent theft or entanglement.
For owners who do use a chain or tie-out cable, they should only do so if they are always outside with the dog when he or she is attached, but only if the dog is never left alone and there is no way for the dog to jump off of something like a deck or land that drops off. I personally do not advise anyone to use a tie-out and prefer a long lead (known as a check cord in bird hunting training) for very experienced dog owners who want to give their dog a bit more leash while still attached to a human.
Other dog owners have an extremely outdated mindset that dogs should live outside and are happier there than in a warm loving home. I cannot fathom why they would have a dog in the first place unless it is for some sort of security measure. A home security system like ADT is going to be much cheaper and can be installed without being cruel and heartless to thinking, breathing sentient creatures. And finally some dogs are chained because they are part of dog fighting rings or are owned by sinister humans who are neglectful and cruel. I do not have sufficient words to describe how heinous I believe dog fighting to be.
So as dog lover, how can you help the dogs who are chained? With the first group that I described, the owners who think they are doing the right thing and who care for their dogs, there are ways that you can reach out to them to help educate them in a non-judgmental way. However, please do not read this blog and then go knocking on the doors of unsafe owners and people running dog fighting rings. There are other things that you can do in the resources that I have shared below like reporting them to the proper authorities and working on passing stronger laws to fight these horrific acts.
Note: there are links to both Peta and the HSUS in these resources; both of these groups are controversial and although I do not generally support them personally, their advice on this particular topic is acceptable and logical.
Unchain Your Dog: This organization was started by a woman who rescued a dog who was chained to a dilapidated doghouse, fed twice a week and rarely had water. There is some great information that you can use to help dogs in your area.
http://www.unchainyourdog.org/WaystoHelp.htm There is a lot of great information on this page about how to unchain your own dog, how to reach out to other dog owners, and how to help pass laws against chaining dogs.
Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue:
http://www.unchainedmelodies.org/help/ Located in Missouri, this site’s help page has more great information on how to help by speaking to fellow dog owners and fighting for local legislation.
SOAR (Speak Out and Rescue): http://www.speakoutandrescue.org/how-to-help.htmlLocated in Kentucky, SOAR also has information on what they are doing to help and how to help in your own community.
Coalition to Unchain Dogs: https://www.unchaindogs.net/This group has helped other charities get started rescuing chained dogs and building fences to help free chained dogs from a live attached to a tether. They have extremely helpful information on starting your own group, how to help, and organizations in other parts of the country.
Fences for Fido: http://www.fencesforfido.org/ I follow this group on Facebook and love seeing their success stories and the videos of dogs who are freed from life on a chain. The joy in these dogs as they run their first zoomies around the yard is incredible. They are located in the Washington/Oregon/Northern California area.
Dogs Deserve Better: https://dogsdeservebetter.org/ Located in Virginia, this group also has extensive resources on their site as well as a CafePress store where you can purchase t-shirts, signs, stickers and other items to help share the word about chained dogs. You can shop their store and help raise money and also purchase items to start conversations whether you are wearing a t-shirt in public or a showing a bumper sticker on your car. Wear their shirts places like Disney, sporting events, festivals, so that everyone walking behind you sees the message!
Here are additional resources to share via social media to help spread the word:
The Canine Escape Artist: this link contains information on dog proofing your fence if a canine escape artist is the reason for a chain.