Georgia Humane Society Pushing for Ban on Dog-Chaining

 |  Apr 4th 2007  |   1 Contribution


Isn't it about time all our states (and countries) pass laws against chaining dogs? Hasn't it been shown time and time again this is just another form of dog abuse and a sure fire way to make dogs psychotic enough to become dangerous?

I came back from a trip to find one of my neighbors had decided to chain his dog in his backyard. It broke my heart to see this lovely German Shepherd/Rottweiller Mix chained and unable to reach me through his usual hole in the fence. All I could do was pass him treats over the fence and cry. We just stood there looking at each other through the fence. I knew he wanted his usual hugs and pets and I so wanted to give them to him!

I couldn't let that situation stand. I had talked to this neighbor before about chaining and knew he wasn't a bad man; just uneducated when it came to dealing with animals. Why he even has a dog is beyond me but that's not my decision. So I ordered signs and pamphlets from Dogs Deserve Better. I checked on my furry friend even more than usual to make sure he had food and clean water. I couldn't reach him but I could stand on my side of the fence and speak to him to let him know someone cared. As soon as the DDB package got to me I posted several signs on my lawn so my neighbor could see them and I dropped a pamphlet on his truck.

I had to leave the next day on another business trip. I worried the whole time I was gone. I wasn't worried about my pack; they have a house to themselves with people checking on them, playing with them and generally keeping them amused. I worried about my other furry friend, the one I had left on a chain. It tormented me to think of him on that chain.

I was delighted to see him greet me at his usual hole in the fence when I drove up! My neighbor had been guilted into releasing my friend! See, the man isn't bad; he's just like a lot of people who need to be taught why chaining a dog is so bad. It's not something many people learn at home and definitely not at school. So where do they learn it? They learn it from us. We have to look for ways to explain the evils of chaining.

And we have to look for ways to pass laws against it. We need to tell our elected officials we are watching and we expect them to pass laws to protect those among us who cannot speak -- our furred friends!

Thanks to DogFlu.ca for this post.

The Humane Society of Hall County in Georgia is asking city council to impose a ban on dog chaining

Rick Aiken, of the Humane Society of Hall County in Georgia, appeared yesterday in front of the Gainesville City Council to urge them to consider an outright ban on the practice of chaining dogs.

A chained dog is a danger to itself and to everyone around it, which is something the county animal shelter is very aware of.


Humane Society president Aiken made a presentation to the Council on Thursday morning, hoping to persuade them to pass an anti-chaining ordinance.

"Obviously they had some questions, but I was real pleased with the response," he said afterward. "We focused on the safety issue, because that's something everybody can understand, even if they're not an animal lover."

Aiken claimed that Hall County averages about one dog-bite case per day, and he cited a recent study published by the national Centers for Disease Control which shows that a chained dog is three times more likely to bite someone.

Several metro Atlanta counties, including DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett, already have some form of anti-chaining restriction.

Gainesville Mayor Bob Hamrick asked Aiken to provide copies of other area ordinances for the council to study.

Some questioned whether a new law is necessary, or whether simply educating pet owners might suffice.

But Councilwoman Ruth Bruner seemed to believe an official ordinance is necessary.

"I think if people are going to chain their dog up, they just don't need a dog," she said.

Aiken said he plans to approach the Hall County Commission in the next few months to request a similar ordinance.

Gainesville City Manager Bryan Shuler said if both governments ban dog-chaining at the same time, it might make enforcement easier and less confusing.

If laws are passed in Gainesville and Hall, it will be part of a growing national trend. Adam Goldfarb, spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States, said more than 100 communities in 30 states have adopted such ordinances, "but there's a lot of variation in what they will allow."

Some places, for example, allow owners to chain dogs for short periods of time. But Aiken is pushing for a complete ban.

"It would be hard to enforce if it were limited to a certain number of hours," he said. "It needs to be all or nothing."

Tara Mitchell, spokeswoman for PAWS Atlanta, a private, no-kill animal shelter in Decatur, said she was glad when DeKalb County passed its ordinance two years ago.

"It's had a huge positive influence," she said. "At least with the law, if someone calls and complains about a dog that's tied up, there's something animal control can do."

Aiken said Hall animal control frequently receives calls from people complaining about chained dogs, but as long as the dog in question has adequate food, water and shelter, the owner cannot be cited for anything.

Wednesday, Banks County officials in Georgia announced plans to charge Randall Morgan, a Jackson County Sheriff's deputy, with animal cruelty after four dead dogs were found chained on his property near Homer. But Morgan's alleged crime is starving the animals, not simply chaining them.

Goldfarb said local governments are beginning to recognize that chaining a dog for long periods is cruel.

"A dog's well-being isn't just physical," he said. "The main problem with chaining is the isolation. Dogs are social animals and need to be with people. Some of these owners treat them as if they're nothing more than living lawn ornaments."

Deprived of social contact and stimulation, chained dogs typically become neurotic and unpredictable.

"They tend to be very territorial, and they also develop aggression as a way of defending themselves, because they can't get away if they're threatened," said Goldfarb.

This is something that makes the dog extremely dangerous to other people and dogs in the community if they get loose.

"Sooner or later, a chain breaks, and then it's a threat to the entire community," he said.

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