In Macon, Georgia, 100 dog owners were cited for chaining their dogs outside. And I say hooray to the city for boldy enforcing its chained dog ordinance.
Last year, Macon passed an ordinance outlawing the chaining of dogs and cats and gave pet owners sufficient time to build runs or fences to secure their pets. Pet owners may only tether their pets if they are supervising them outside; they can not leave their dogs outside on a chain, unattended. But it seems many residents ignored the new ordinance and Macon officials decided to show residents they meant business.
Chained dogs lead a dismal life. People put them outside and often forget about them. The dogs suffer because they are restricted to a few feet of space. They often can’t reach food or water or shelter and in some cases, are forced to walk around in their own feces because they are kept on such a short chain. They are isolated from their families, and the lack of socialization creates fearful dogs that overreact to perceived threats. They can become extremely territorial and aggressive towards intruders, including other animals and children. Sadly, their unnatural lives create circumstances that lead to dangerous bites and attacks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, chained dogs are three times more likely to bite than unchained dogs and more than five times likely to bite children. Perhaps children feel safer approaching a chained dog, thinking they can’t get hurt. But this is never the case.
Chained dogs are at more risk of getting hurt also. Dogs have strangled themselves (warning, pictures are graphic) when their tether gets tangled or caught on an object. They are more likely to be attacked by animals entering their yards or taunted by cruel people. They are often left sitting unprotected in extreme temperatures as well as rain, hail, wind, and storms throughout the entire year.
Could life be any more miserable for a dog; a social creature that thrives on living with its pack — it’s human family?
Several cities in the U.S. prohibit tethering altogether. In some cities, there is a one hour limit on tethering; prohibitions against tethering during the day and in extreme weather; and no tethering unless an owner is present and needs to tether the dog to perform a task. I like Macon’s ordinance — no tethering of pets unless you are present. This allows someone to bring the dog outside while they wash the car, but forbids the careless and cruel practice of leaving dogs on a tether or chain indefinitely.
We know what a dog needs to be a healthy, socialable companion animal, especially in an urban environment. Dogs are social creatures that need to feel they are part of the family. Chaining a dog (or cat) should be forbidden in all 50 states.