Never Chain Your Dog

Chaining a dog up outside is probably one of the cruelest existences a dog can have. Dogs are social creatures and want nothing more than to love, be loved and to interact with others.

Not only is the practice of chaining a dog up cruel, it can be extremely dangerous. Over time, an otherwise friendly dog can become neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and aggressive. Studies show that chained dogs are far more likely to bite than their unchained counterparts.

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.

In addition to the psychological impact, chained dogs are at risk of unintentionally hanging themselves if they're close to a fence and attempt to jump it. They can get tangled in their chains causing injury and often death.

A chained animal may suffer harassment and teasing from insensitive humans, stinging bites from insects, and, in the worst cases, 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 animal fights.

In addition to The Humane Society of the United States and numerous animal experts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a statement in the July 2, 1996, Federal Register against tethering:

"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."

Recommendations from The Humane Society of the United States are that all dogs be kept indoors at night, taken on regular walks, and provided with adequate attention, food, water, and veterinary care. If an animal must be housed outside at certain times, he should be placed in a suitable pen with adequate square footage and shelter from the elements.

At least 25 communities have passed laws that regulate the practice of tethering animals. Maumelle, Arkansas; Tucson, Arizona; and New Hanover, North Carolina, are a few communities that prohibit the chaining or tethering of dogs as a means of continuous confinement. Many other communities allow tethering only under certain conditions; Jefferson County, Kentucky, for example, prohibits dogs from being tethered for more than eight hours in any 24-hour period.
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