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An Important Safety Message regarding Chaining and Tethering
Please spread this message from the HSUS Print it out and give it to someone who needs it! Ask your local paper to print it! FACT SHEET ON CHAINING OR TETHERING from the Humane Society of the U.S.
1. What is meant by "chaining" or "tethering" dogs? These terms are used to refer to the practice of fastening a dog to a stationary object or pole, usually in his or her owner's backyard, as a means of keeping the animal under control. It does not refer to the periods when an animal is walked on a leash.
2. Is there a problem with continuous chaining or tethering? Yes, it is inhumane and can be dangerous to the confined dog, people, and other animals.
3. Why is it a problem? Dogs are wonderful companion animals because they love human beings and want to interact with us. They also want to interact with other animals. Dogs are very social beings. If they are chained in one spot for hours, days, months and even years, they are denied the opportunity to socialize. It is a miserable life. Yet, for a multitude of dogs in this country, that is exactly what happens to them. Constant chaining makes dogs neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and often even aggressive. And in too many cases,the neck area is constantly irritated or sore from improperly fitted collars and the constant yanking and straining of their necks in their desperate attempts to escape confinement.
4. Who says it is inhumane? In addition to The HSUS and numerous animal experts, The United States Department of Agriculture issued a statement in the July 2, 1996 Federal Register against tethering. The Department proposed an amendment to ban the practice under Regulations to the Animal Welfare Act which had allowed tethering in USDA licensed facilities. The USDA stated, "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.
5. Why is tethering or chaining dangerous to humans? Because of the psychological damage caused by continuous chaining, dogs that are subjected to it can become dangerous and vicious animals. They are more ikely to bark incessantly and even attack children or adults who mistakenly enter into the area of the dog?s confinement. And if they do escape their restraint, they are not adequately socialized and are more likely to bite.
6. How does chaining or tethering cause such problems? An animal's frustration level rises from such long periods of constant boredom and the frustration of watching the rest of the world go by. Unfortunately, children and others often cruelly tease or harass these animals causing them to become even more ill-tempered. It is a vicious cycle. Because the dog lacks socialization skills, humans are less likely to give him or her much sought after love and attention.
7. Is the animal in jeopardy? Yes, besides the psychological suffering associated with this type of treatment, the dog is an easy target for thieves looking to steal dogs for sale to research institutions or to be used as training fodder for organized animal fights. Also, should another more dangerous animal enter into the area, the chained dog has no way to escape an attack. And as mentioned above, these pathetic animals are often the victims of cruel teasing and harassment. Often rocks, sticks, or other objects are thrown at them.
8. Are these dogs otherwise treated well? Rarely does a chained or tethered dog receive sufficient care. They may be sporadically fed, rarely given water, and their shelter may be less than adequate. During blizzards they may be left to suffer from the intense cold and have little ability to find warmth. Many are rarely given food or water because it is difficult for their owners to get to them, if they were so inclined. During periods of extreme heat, rarely does a dog receive adequate water and may have no protection from intense sun. Many may receive little veterinary care and do not receive needed vaccinations. The animal almost becomes part of the scenery and can be easily ignored by his or her owners. Animal control and veterinarians report numerous cases of animals whose collars have become imbedded in their necks as they grow. In one case, a veterinarian had to put to sleep a dog whose collar was an electrical cord. It was so embedded in the animal's neck that it was difficult to identify the plug that was ultimately removed.
9. Are the areas in which they are confined usually pleasant? No. Because the dogs have to eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate all in the same confined area, it is very unsanitary. It is unusual for an owner to clean the area in any way. And even though there may have once been grass, it is usually so beaten down by the pacing and anxious dog , the ground is entirely dirt or mud.
10. Are these dogs dangerous to other animals? Yes. Any other animal that comes into their area of confinement is in jeopardy. Cats, rabbits, or smaller dogs may enter the area when the tethered dog is asleep and then be viciously attacked if the dog should awaken.
11. Should chaining or tethering ever be allowed? Properly restraining a dog is an owner's responsibility. But it is also the responsibility of an owner to provide adequate attention and socialization for their dogs in order to make them well adjusted companion animals and good members of the community. Dogs should regularly interact with people and other animals. They should be regularly taken on walks. Placing an animal on a restraint for a short period of time to get fresh air can be acceptable. However, to expect an animal to spend long periods of time in such a situation is not.
12. What can be done to correct the problem? At least four communities in this country have enacted ordinances that prohibit the chaining or tethering of dogs as a means of around the clock animal control. Maumelle, Arkansas, Tucson, Arizona, and New Hanover,North Carolina ban the practice except under certain circumstances. Jefferson County, Kentucky permits no dog to be chained for more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period. Several state legislatures may soon consider state laws to ban or restrict the practice.
13. But how else can people confine dogs? The HSUS recommends that all dogs be kept indoors at night, taken on regular walks, and otherwise provided with adequate attention, food, water, and veterinary care. However, it is acknowledged that not all dogs will receive this ideal care. If an animal must be housed outside at all times, he or she should be placed in a suitable pen with adequate square footage to allow the animal a humane environment. Adequate shelter from the elements should always be available to them.
14. If a dog is to be chained or tethered for a period of time, can it be done humanely? Animals should be chained in such a way that they cannot become entangled with other objects; collars used to attach an animal shall not be of a choke type but should be comfortable and properly fitted; and no restraintshould prohibit an animal from comfortably lying down or moving about. Animals should never be chained in cases of natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, or blizzards.
15. What about attaching a dog's leash to a pulley run? Attaching a leash to a long line - such as a clothesline - and letting a dog have a larger area in which to explore, is better than being tied to a stationary object. However, all the concerns regarding attacks on or by other animals, lack of socialization, and safety still apply, especially if the animal is tied up for his or her entire lifetime.