You see them in every neighborhood – dogs chained 24 hours each and every day, exposed to searing heat, bitter cold, rain, snow. With a shelter consisting of a crate, barrel, box, or under a vehicle or porch. Water or food bowls are frequently overturned and a deep rut in the ground in a circular pattern marks the path of the dog who walks around and around as far as the chain allows, vainly trying to escape the cruel fate of a chained dog.
A newly chained dog first barks and howls frantically trying to get help from anyone who will listen. As time wears on and hope for rescue fades, the dog will give up, eyes full of desperation, wondering why no one comes to walk or play or even give a pat on the head. Maybe as a puppy the dog was loved but as she/he grew older the novelty of having a puppy soon wore off and the dog was consigned to the backyard, chained for life. Maybe there were behavioral or housebreaking problems that the human guardians just didn't care enough to get assistance for.
Dogs are pack animals and need to be in the company of humans. Being chained is a living death. Condemning a dog to a life of solitary confinement on the end of a chain is extremely cruel and inhumane. Several localities have laws against this practice. Every state needs to legislate against dog chaining. There is much that you can do to alleviate the suffering of a chained dog.
- If the human guardian is agreeable, play with and exercise the dog. Feed and water the dog and offer to give the dog a suitable shelter. Supply the shelter with fresh hay. Always be tactful and courteous: "I had some hay given to me and is it ok if I put it in your dogs shelter?" "I have this leftover food, is it ok if I give it to your dog?"
- If the dog has behavioral or housebreaking problems, offer to obtain assistance and ask if the dog can be moved back into the house when the problems have been resolved.
- If the human guardian is unresponsive to you try a neighborhood mediator. This website, www.nafcm.org, has a list, by state, of local community mediation organizations.
- Offer to adopt the dog, even if you have to offer money to get the dog. If you cannot provide a home for the dog yourself, find a suitable home with someone you know or take the dog to a reputable animal shelter.
- If the dog is being physically abused, neglected, without food and water and shelter, or if she/he has a serious medical problem such as a heavy parasite infestation, mange, etc., contact the cruelty investigator or police in your town or the local humane society.
- Remember that good intentions are never enough. Your intervention can literally mean life or death for a chained dog. Contact us for our free brochure on what you can do to help chained dogs, including plans for constructing a comfortable, weatherproof doghouse.
Go to dogsderservebetter.org for more info.