Written by Jeff Mackey
Want to have a New Year's celebration that's "off da
chain"? Start by getting dogs off theirs. (Chains, that is.)
Since it's time to make resolutions, make one of yours a pledge to see an end
to chaining in your community by year's end—all it takes is persuading local
officials to make (and
then pass) a kind of resolution of their own!
Need more convincing? Meet Ziggy. This was his life before
PETA—and a caring animal advocate, Alexis Tsiouris—came into it:
Alexis and PETA worked together over the course of a year to
get Ziggy (then named Gizmo) off his chain and into a true home. After PETA
alerted Alexis to Ziggy's plight, she delivered straw and treats to him. Both
Alexis and PETA contacted his owner, who finally surrendered him to Alexis. Ziggy
now lives indoors with his loving family, including three other dogs:
Ziggy's life is as bright now as it once was bleak. But with
so many "backyard dogs" on chains and ropes, one-dog-at-a-time rescues—while worthwhile and often necessary—can't effectively help them all.
That's why it's so vital that tethering (chaining) bans become law in every community. While Ziggy was chained up, for example, PETA
had sent law-enforcement officials to check on him twice, but they determined
that his situation was legal so nothing could be done about it. A chaining ban
would give authorities the
necessary tools to help dogs like Ziggy.
What You Can Do
This year, put "Get a tethering ban passed" at the
top of your list of New Year's resolutions and get it done before 2013 comes to
a close. Learn how and then make your resolution: no more chained dogs!
Written by Michelle Kretzer
Her story is a haunting reminder of why
it should be illegal to chain
Storm was just 2 years old when she strangled to death at the end of her chain after being chained
up outdoors like a rusty old bicycle and left unsupervised.
calls about Storm's horrific death flooded our office, PETA wrote to the mayor
of the town in which she died, Portsmouth, Virginia, asking him to introduce "Storm's
Law," an ordinance
that would ban or seriously restrict chaining.
Storm's owners claim to suspect foul
play, but cruel people—who often poison or shoot dogs because they are annoyed
by their barking or steal them for use as "bait dogs" in dogfights
or to sell to laboratories
for experimentation—are only one of the many dangers that chained dogs face. Obviously,
Storm should have never been chained in her sad little mud patch to begin with.
receives hundreds of reports of chained dogs, like the one pictured here, every
Dogs can strangle or injure themselves
when their chains become tangled, or they can be attacked by other animals. Often
deprived of food, water,
veterinary care, and shelter,
chained dogs routinely suffer from a range of maladies, including malnutrition,
dehydration, flea infestations, mange, and untreated injuries, and can freeze
to death or die of heatstroke.
And dogs aren't the only ones who suffer
the ill effects of chaining. Subjecting a social pack animal to a life of
isolation contributes to aggressive behavior, making chained dogs three
times as likely to bite.
More than 120 jurisdictions
have passed laws banning or restricting chaining. If, like Portsmouth, your
area still allows dogs to be chained, please use PETA's tips
to get a chaining ordinance passed.
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
Ace—a kind, shy pit bull—was chained outside 24/7. The area where he lived was worn, there was not a single blade of grass within sniffing distance, and he was living in a plastic barrel that offered minimal shelter from the elements. After a bloody encounter with another dog, Ace was left with swollen and infected genitals, and his neglectful "owner" let the painful sores go untreated for more than a month.
A concerned complainant first reported Ace's plight to local law-enforcement officials, who refused to help. When we received the initial call about Ace, we got a similar and frustrating run-around from officials, who assured us that the dog was "fine."
By the following morning, our persistent efforts to secure help for Ace resulted in getting a qualified animal control officer dispatched to Ace's Alabama home. Once the officer arrived on the scene, it was obvious that Ace was not "fine," and he was immediately seized. The untreated infection had taken its toll on Ace, and when he arrived at the local animal shelter, he was finally given a humane release from his prolonged suffering.
In addition to suffering through sweltering heat and blistering cold, dogs like Ace, who are forced to spend their lives at the end of a lonely chain, are susceptible to violent encounters with other animals. Chained dogs often become fearful of intruders and overly protective of their tiny patches of ground. This can encourage unnaturally aggressive behavior that often has tragic results for the animals and people who go near them. If you know of or see an injured or neglected chained dog, please take action.
Written by Logan Scherer
… from a miserable life under a pile of heavy cinder blocks and plywood?
This makeshift pen was "home" for a sweet 5-month-old mutt named Dollar, who was discovered by a PETA fieldworker in North Carolina.
Our relentless efforts to educate people about the terrible mental and physical suffering endured by backyard dogs—as well as the dangers posed by cruel humans and occasionally other animals—almost always make an impact. Occasionally, the owners agree to bring the dogs inside. Other times, they shrug and hand us the leash.
In this case, our fieldworker was canvassing a North Carolina neighborhood and signing up needy dogs for PETA's spay-and-neuter and doghouse programs when she spotted Dollar's head poking out of his ramshackle "fence." It was a dangerous barricade that possibly could have collapsed and crushed him. Dollar's guardian refused to bring Dollar inside or to let us take him.
Dollar's owner did agree, however, to let us neuter him and to clear the cinder blocks from around his doghouse.
There is no doubt that Dollar's life is better than it was. He's no longer forced to eat and sleep in that feces-littered cinder-block prison that was about to cave in on him. He's also scheduled to receive a in the coming days. But there's also no doubt that Dollar's life, like that of so many other backyard dogs, could still be so much better.
Backyard dogs spend every moment of their lives yearning for a family who loves them and keeps them indoors where it's warm and dry—and you can help them by taking action. If your neighbors keep backyard dogs, talk to them and educate them about the animals' social, physical, and mental needs. Investigate chaining laws and shelter requirements in your area, and work with legislators to strengthen the laws. Our information about anti-chaining ordinances can help.
Fall is here, and winter is right around the corner. Make a decision to be a person who refuses to give backyard dogs the cold shoulder.
Written by Karin Bennett
Because it's cold. And the situation for dogs who are kept chained outside as if they were some kind of furry lawn ornament is drastic. If you want to do something to help so-called "back yard" dogs in your area, we've got some great resources here. And we also have a nice little "unchain a dog" pack so you can remind people that if they're unable to take a dog into their home, they shouldn't be getting a dog in the first place.
And now, Loretta Lynn:
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.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.