The Chained Dog
by Sharon Nataline
A chained dog’s life is a lonely, frustrating, miserable existence, without opportunities for even the most basic dog behaviors of running and sniffing in their own fenced yard. Dogs chained for even a few weeks begin to show problems.
Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with humans and other animals. A dog kept chained 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 most often aggressive.
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. 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. Finally, dogs’ tethers can become entangled with other objects, which can choke or strangle the dogs to death.
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. Dogs have even been found with collars embedded in their necks. The Humane Society of the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and numerous animal experts have deemed this constant confinement as cruel and inhumane.
Rarely does a chained or tethered dog receive sufficient care. Chained dogs suffer from sporadic feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate veterinary care, and extreme temperatures. What’s more, because their often neurotic behavior makes them difficult to approach, chained dogs are rarely given even minimal affection. Chained dogs become a part of the scenery and can be easily ignored by their owners.
Chained dogs are forced to urinate, defecate, sleep, and eat in a single confined area. Most owners of chained dogs are less likely to clean the area. Where there may have once been grass in an area of confinement, it is usually so beaten down by the dog’s pacing that the ground consists of nothing but dirt or mud.
The final word is that chaining doesn’t work – except to serve as a form of confinement that is easy for the owner but cruel for the animal. Chaining is not an acceptable practice. It’s a long-overlooked form of cruelty that must be stopped. When living chained, they are not pets – but prisoners.
If you pass a chained dog with a sadness in your heart, please have the courage to do something about it. Try to politely encourage owners of chained dogs to make a change. Offer to walk or play with the dog. Offer help in building a fenced area. Offer a donated doggie bed and toys. Set an example by keeping your own dog inside. If all else fails, call your local animal control agency. If they determine that the dog is being neglected and that the owner refuses to comply with providing the most basic care, they can impound the animal and possibly give it a second chance at life by adopting it to a responsible owner.
© 2003, Alachua County Humane Society, Inc. All rights reserved.