Many of us have experienced the love, companionship, and joy of sharing our homes and our lives with a companion animal. Sadly, some people still do not realize or care that it is an utter act of cruelty to make a dog—a creature who innately craves social companionship—live out his or her existence at the end of a chain. The practice not only is inhumane but also poses a threat to the safety of the chained dog, other animals, and humans as well.
Dogs thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals. They need regular interaction with their family members. A dog kept chained (or confined to a pen) whether for hours, days, months, or years can suffer tremendous psychological damage. Because of the chained dog’s minimal physical space and lack of socialization, these animals often become exceedingly hyper and aggressive. They can become territorial; and anyone who comes near them, especially small children, may be attacked. These sensitive and loving animals desire and deserve as much comfort and happiness as beloved indoor companion animals.
Many chained dogs spend their lives connected to a six-foot or shorter metal chain. Under these limited conditions, dogs are forced to eat, drink, urinate, defecate, and sleep with no respite or companionship. They suffer through blistering heat and freezing cold, rain, snow, and wind. Their “home” turns into a filthy muddy mess, dust bowl, or frozen landscape. If shelter is provided, it is often inadequate for the dog’s needs. One wonders: Why have a dog in the first place? A chained dog may suffer torment from passing humans and attacks by other animals. They may be stolen for sale to research institutions or to people who engage in the world of dog fighting, an illegal activity in all 50 states.
Feeling vulnerable and threatened on a daily basis, many chained dogs will lunge at anything that goes by them, and thus, pose a serious danger to small animals and children. Furthermore, the constant lunging often causes the dog’s collar to tear into the skin and can, in some cases, become imbedded in the dog’s neck, requiring surgery to remove the collar. In some cases, the straining may cause injury or even death to the dog. Some dogs choke to death when they attempt to jump over fences and hang themselves.
Chained dogs are caught in a vicious cycle. The longer they stay chained, the less likely they are to have human companionship, thereby making it more difficult to handle them. The more difficult they become, the less likely a human will want to engage with them. They are caught in a downward spiral, not of their own making.
The Humane Society of the United States, the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the ASPCA, the American Veterinary Medical Association and numerous animal experts have spoken out against chaining and tethering because it is inhumane and can lead to aggressive behavior. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concluded in a study that the dogs most likely to attack are male, unneutered and chained.
Dogs are relying on us to give them the best chance for a normal canine life. If you want to have a dog in your life, be a responsible owner. Keep your dog inside your home. He or she is a member of your family.
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