Written by Jeff Mackey
As we've mentioned recently, PETA is working overtime—literally—to restrict or outlaw the chaining of dogs in the cities that make up its Hampton Roads home turf in Virginia. One of those cities that still hasn't passed an anti-chaining ordinance is Newport News—and that has to change.
Here's why: Just weeks after PETA discussed the possible adoption
of a tethering ban with representatives from the city of Newport News—who declined
to take up any chaining regulations at this time—a PETA fieldworker looking for
animals in need in Newport News found this dog, Weezy, chained in someone's
Dogs aren't objects that can be dumped outside, chained, and
forgotten about—they're sensitive, social beings who require good care and consideration. Like those of many lonely and vulnerable chained dogs whose owners can't be
bothered to spare more than minimal attention or care, Weezy's collar was so
tight that it had become embedded in his neck, resulting in a deep, painful,
and infected wound.
Weezy was seized by law-enforcement authorities and treated
by a veterinarian, and the cruel man responsible for Weezy's suffering has been
charged with cruelty to animals. But there is a way to prevent other dogs from experiencing
this same type of pain: by passing a restriction or an all-out ban on chaining.
PETA's out in front on this issue because its cruelty caseworkers have witnessed time and again how dogs suffer at the end of chains. Chained dogs are psychologically and physically
neglected. They often suffer from exposure, dehydration, starvation, untreated
injuries, maddening flea and tick infestations, flystrike, heartworm disease,
and more. It's not uncommon for chained dogs to hang to death after becoming
entangled in their tether or to accidentally hang themselves on objects around
them. Chaining also puts the
public at risk since chained dogs often unleash their frustration on other people, including children.
Please join PETA in politely urging the Newport News mayor and City Council members to join neighboring Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Portsmouth, and
Smithfield in passing an anti-tethering ordinance before another animal suffers
like Weezy. And if your community lacks a chaining ban, please encourage local authorities to take up legislation immediately.
Wow! Less than a month after PETA spoke in front of the City
Council of Portsmouth, Virginia, about the need for legislation to end the continuous
chaining of dogs, officials voted unanimously—that's
seven to zip—in favor of a three-hour limit on chaining in any 24-hour period.
We'd like 24/7, but this is a wonderful change from lifetime chaining!
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Portsmouth is just across the Elizabeth River from PETA's
hometown of Norfolk, and it has now become the latest neighboring community
(and one of many across
to outlaw round-the-clock chaining of dogs. In July, our hard work paid off
when Hampton banned
chaining altogether. At our urging, Norfolk and Virginia Beach had previously enacted
limits on tethering dogs.
What You Can Do
dogs are often at the end of their ropes, both literally and figuratively—miserable,
lonely, and vulnerable to weather extremes and violent predators, not to
mention a significant threat to public safety. Please help chained dogs by working to pass a
chaining ordinance in your community.
The story is a common one but still heartrending: Deuce's
owners bought him as a puppy, but when he got big—although still full of energy
and enthusiasm—instead of giving him gentle guidance and abundant exercise,
they kicked him out of the house and chained him to a tree.
Fortunately for Deuce, one kind soul saw that he was tied up
in the mud without shelter on a rainy day and took pity on him. After other
rescue organizations refused to help Deuce, PETA was contacted and immediately
arranged to have the pup picked up—the uninterested family surrendered him to
the rescuer—and taken to a
reputable animal shelter.
That would be enough of a tail-wagger for many animals who
are facing a similar plight, but Deuce's good fortune continued: Shortly after
arriving at the animal shelter, he was adopted by a loving family, and now he
spends every day indoors as a cherished member of the household.
Both dogs and cats are happier and safer indoors. Please, if you spot an animal left outside, be ready to help—and don't take "no"
for an answer!
After observing a large number of dogs who were living in
filthy conditions, chained, breeding, fighting, or confined to hot areas—and getting no help from local animal
control—a caring person notified PETA, and one of its caseworkers jumped into
The miserable pups were covered with fleas and living
without veterinary care or socialization. Two of the dogs were kept inside a
trailer that had no air conditioning or any other kind of ventilation. One was
significantly underweight. Those responsible for the sad conditions of the dogs
clearly didn't care about their welfare, so the caseworker persuaded them to
surrender the animals and arranged for an area resident to pick up the 13 dogs
and carry them to a reputable local animal shelter—from which one has already
been adopted into a loving home.
PETA will continue to monitor the situation to make sure the
dogs' former owners don't
acquire more animals, but this case again illustrates the importance of speaking up when you see animals
in trouble and being persistent until they get the help they so desperately need.
We have phenomenally good news for dogs in Hampton, Virginia—one
of the cities that make up the Hampton Roads community surrounding PETA's
Norfolk headquarters. After about a year of meetings, letters, calls, and
discussions involving PETA, city officials, and concerned citizens, the Hampton
City Council voted unanimously to ban the tethering of dogs!
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Over the years, PETA's Community Animal Project staff has responded to countless calls for help for chained dogs in Hampton and
has met many who did not survive this cruel practice, including Smokey, a black
pit bull who was left outside during Hurricane Irene and died in the storm; Tupac, another pit who languished on a chain without vet care, had a massive tumor, and
slowly starved; Nigel, a Rottweiler who was kept chained in a disgusting garage
for years while his leg muscles atrophied and his paws eroded from urine burn;
and many, many more.
PETA is grateful to the Hampton councilmembers—who insisted
on a complete ban on tethering instead of halfway measures—and to all the area
residents who helped with this important project, assuring that Hampton's
animals will no longer lead lives of misery at the end of chains!
Not only does keeping dogs tied up or chained outside cause
them to suffer, the stress and frustration that they endure can also cause them
to become violent. Tethering bans protect both dogs and the public from harm. Please
work to enact a chaining
ordinance in your community.
Is the normally docile Fido suddenly starting to act hostile
when you handle him? A new study may explain why: Dogs may become more aggressive when they're in
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The researchers looked at dogs who had abruptly attacked
their guardians and discovered that, in each case, the aggressive behavior was
caused by pain. Many of the dogs were suffering from the onset of hip
dysplasia, an often-crippling disease common in many purebred dogs. (Thanks for nothing, breeders!)
A number of factors—including continuous chaining or crating—can
cause dogs to become aggressive. But if Fido suddenly turns fierce when you
touch him, an immediate trip to the veterinarian is in order—for your sake and
Written by PETA
If your local government officials were inspired by National Dog Bite Prevention Week to pass an ordinance that would help prevent dog bites, would you support it? As it turns out, they can do just that by banning chaining.
Dogs have a strong fight-or-flight response, and chaining takes away the less dangerous option. In addition to being denied adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care, dogs who spend their lives at the end of a chain often are not socialized, and even a small child who runs toward them can seem threatening, leading them to bite in self-defense. Chained dogs are three times more likely to attack than are dogs with the freedom to escape perceived threats, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the American Veterinary Medical Association advises guardians, "Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggressive behavior."
Communities across America are acknowledging the danger (and cruelty) of chaining and are implementing chaining restrictions. For easy ways to encourage your local legislators to consider a lifesaving chaining ordinance, see PETA's "Breaking the Chain" webpage.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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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.