Written by PETA
You say you care about lonely, neglected dogs who are chained up in all weather extremes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? How far would you go to prove it? Seminole County resident and PETA member Bryan Wilson (right) and a friend went so far as to chain themselves up for eight hours in the blazing Florida heat to call attention to the plight of dogs who spend all day, every day fighting off flies, fleas, and hopelessness.
"Dogs are very social animals," Wilson told a reporter. "By [depriving] them of their human packs, they are essentially reduced from family members to lawn ornaments."
Wilson, who helped draft a proposed law restricting chaining in his county, isn't the only one going to bat for chained dogs. Deborah Linz and Paulette Dean, who are featured in the current issue of PETA's quarterly magazine, Animal Times, were each successful in passing ordinances restricting chaining in Kanawha County, West Virginia, and Danville, Virginia, respectively. More than six states and 120 communities across the country have banned or restricted chaining.
Want to be a hero to dogs by working to pass an anti-chaining ordinance in your community? You'll die happy! To get started, visit HelpingAnimals.com for information on lobbying for anti-chaining laws.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Now that spring is in full bloom in much of the country, we won't be hearing reports of "backyard dogs" freezing in the snow for a while. But other sad stories are in no short supply: Many puppies born this spring will be taken away from their mothers only to end up chained alone in someone's yard, and they will stay in that same spot 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the rest of their lives, with nothing but a patch of worn-down dirt and no companions, scant attention, and all freedom lost forever. And if that weren't enough, many chained dogs strangle on the chains; get ripped apart by other dogs; are tormented, teased, injured, and killed by cruel humans; or are stolen by "bunchers" who resell them to laboratories. Others will simply starve to death when no one remembers to bring them food and water.
But there's hope for dogs who are suffering on chains. As USA Today reported, dog chaining is "inching its way toward unacceptability" as ever more jurisdictions pass laws banning or restricting chaining. California already has a law restricting tethering to three hours per day—as does PETA's hometown of Norfolk, Virginia—and the Illinois General Assembly is currently considering a statewide law that would ban dog chaining between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The Illinois bill has passed the Senate and is now in the House Rules Committee.
You can help chained dogs! If you live in Illinois, please contact your legislators and ask them to support Senate Bill 2580. If you live elsewhere, please lobby for an ordinance in your community. To get started, call us at 202-540-2174 for a free guide on getting the job done, and we'll help you every step of the way.
It was 20 degrees in Michigan, and this small dog was tethered outdoors without any shelter to protect her from the plummeting temperatures. She was shivering, lonely, and suffering from a severe skin infection that was causing her fur—her only defense against the bitter cold—to fall out.
A compassionate passerby alerted PETA's Emergency Response Team that the dog appeared to be in danger. It was late, but we promptly notified a solid dedicated humane officer who with whom we'd worked with in the past. Despite being off duty at the time, he rushed to the scene and made a heartfelt plea to the dog's guardians, who, thankfully, agreed to relinquish her into his custody on the spot. The dog, later named Suzy, was whisked to a nearby animal shelter for immediate assessment and care. Shortly after the rescue, the wonderful humane officer posted pictures of Suzy and an account of the incident on his Facebook page. His post stated, "Strange thing just happened; I just got a call from PETA requesting I check on a dog …. Don't know how they got my # but I'm off to go check, after all I gave my word that I would."
Every winter, we're inundated with calls about dogs who are relegated to lonely back yards by people who refuse to allow them inside and make them a part of their family. These dogs are often forced to withstand freezing temperatures, often with nothing more than a plastic barrel or a lean-to as shelter from the ice, sleet, and snow. Not only are these dogs cold and miserable, they are susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite, and even death. Although winter is especially harsh, chaining a dog is never a safe or acceptable option. Dogs are social pack animals who want and deserve companionship. If you ever spot a dog in need, please do everything you can to help, including alerting local officials to your concerns. Your voice can make a difference!
Written by Logan Scherer
This is the story of 16 freezing, emaciated dogs on a property in a rural town in Kentucky. The dogs were so thin that their ribs were visible and you could count each vertebra in their spines. Two dogs were tied to empty barrels, another spent all day every day tethered to a dilapidated doghouse, and still more spent all winter shivering under a porch, desperate to escape the bitter cold and likely suffering from hypothermia.
The woman who owned the dogs would leave them for weeks at a time, not only deprived of a loving touch but also without food or water. Yet when complaints were filed with local authorities, the calls were ignored. Nearby residents tried to make sure that the dogs had food and water, but with winter in full force, the water would freeze and—because the dogs were desperate to maintain as much weight as they could to combat the cold—the food would disappear more quickly than the neighbors could supply it.
By the time we were notified, one of the females in this miserable situation had just given birth to a litter of puppies. She was so emaciated that nursing the newborns could have been fatal for her. Because the season's first snow had already fallen, the puppies had little chance of surviving.
We worked quickly to get the sheriff's department to investigate, but in the short time it took them to take action, two of the puppies had already frozen to death under the porch. The surviving animals were immediately seized and taken to the local animal shelter. The owner was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.
You might be wondering why we're talking about this heartbreaking case at the beginning of summer. That's because we're entering another deadly season for neglected backyard dogs. Those who somehow survive winter's ice and freezing temperatures will soon face blazing heat and sweltering humidity—if they don't already. Instead of hypothermia, many will suffer heatstroke, flea and tick infestations, and heartworms. Their need for the basics—protection from the elements, food, fresh water, and attention—is year-round.
Chained dogs depend on us to look behind privacy fences and glance under abandoned cars in the junkyard. And please don't tune out their barking. It's their way of crying for help.
Never assume that someone else is already on the case. I can let you know from firsthand experience that not everyone is willing to take action. Several years ago, while living in Chicago, I discovered two dogs who were locked in an abandoned building. Longtime residents quickly gathered around me, voicing their pity for the dogs. Yet when I asked if any of them had called authorities about the dogs, they shrugged and turned away. If I hadn't called to report the case, the dogs may not have been rescued and would likely have starved to death.
All of this is meant as a reminder: Please do more than feel sad or sorry about neglected animals. Take action—you could very well be their only hope.
Written by Karin Bennett
A 5-year-old girl in Thomasville, Georgia, has died of her injuries after she was reportedly attacked by her family's pit bulls while she was playing on a trampoline.
Carol Jones, the executive director of the Thomas County Humane Society, missed the point when she responded to this attack by telling people to "be cautious of their family pets. They can turn on you at any time, and it doesn't matter what kind of dog." It's ridiculous to suggest that people be constantly suspicious of Fido when the real reason for this tragedy can be found elsewhere in the article—the part where it says the dogs attacked the child when they "broke free of their chains."
Leaving dogs chained outside creates a risk of injury for children or anyone else who might wander into the yard. Chained dogs kill more children than do fireworks accidents and falls from trees and playground equipment combined, according to a 2002 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dogs who spend a lot of time alone or chained are more prone to become aggressive and bite, while dogs who are socialized and enjoy life with their human "pack" are generally protective of their guardians without being a danger to the community.
January is "Unchain a Dog" month. Chained dogs everywhere experience stress and confinement that put them in danger of going mad and attacking someone, and many dogs suffer and die every year during winter's bitter cold and summer's blistering heat. Please make a promise to all dogs who are trapped at the end of a chain in your neighborhood that you will do something—anything—to help them.
Written by Jeff Mackey
After more than 7,000 e-mails of complaint from our wonderful members and supporters, Verizon has pulled an ad depicting two chained pit bulls who were straining at their chains in a junkyard. They may now realize that the sight of miserable, lonely, aggressive dogs just doesn't help them hawk cell phones.
Pit bulls are by far the most abused of breeds, and this ad certainly didn't help boost their image. Since they're seen as the "tough guy's" breed, they all too often end up neglected and chained outside, left to lie amid their own waste through all weather extremes and without adequate shelter, food, or water. If that wasn't enough, even less fortunate ones end up in the hands of dogfighters.
Many thanks to all who participated in our action alert—your pressure helped get this ridiculous ad pulled. Further proof that it's worth it to ruffle a few feathers!
Posted by Sean Conner
While we at PETA obviously would prefer if people never chained their dogs and always let their dogs inside, we acknowledge that this is not a reality in many situations.
It's this amazing commitment and selfless passion from our staff that makes me so proud to work for PETA. For example, check out this story from my good friend Sarah about her recent straw delivery trip:
"A few weeks ago, we were delivering straw in North Carolina and came across this one house that had two male pit bulls chained up outside. Their names were Tyson and Ali, (go figure, right?). Ali was very healthy and pretty buff, and then there was Tyson—I could see from 20 feet away that he was underweight. Tyson was maybe 30 pounds, and he is 3 years old. He was the sweetest dog in the world. The moment we touched him, he knew we weren't there to hurt him and he hugged us. He looked up at us with the saddest eyes, as if they were asking us to save him.
"As I was standing there giving him probably the first loving touch he'd ever had, I noticed that there was blood on my hands. As I looked down, I saw it was all over his neck under his chain collar, which had dug into his neck and was cutting up his skin (probably starting to grow around the collar). We were able to switch the collar. We wanted to give him a longer tie-out, but we couldn't because if he got within Ali's reach, Ali would attack and more than likely kill him.
"We filled both doghouses with straw to keep the dogs warm for the rest of the winter, and as we were leaving, we saw Tyson snuggle in his wonderfully warm doghouse. This is why I spend my free time delivering straw to outside dogs. It makes a world of a difference to them."
To see how you can help chained dogs in your area, please click here.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.