Thursday, September 27, 2007

End of a Chain

I have no sympathy for anyone who would tie one or more dogs in the yard and allow them to die at the end of a chain, without food, water, or medical care.

Anti-tethering laws are popping up here and there across the nation and gaining momentum. Chaining a dog outside is inhumane and can lead to aggression. Consider this; would you want to spend your life on a chain that constricts your ability to exercise and in some cases on a chain so short you can barely move at all? Or even on a longer chain that wraps around any nearby object as you pace and has the potential to choke you to death? If you have a kind owner, you might have a doghouse, but many chained dogs don’t have any type of shelter, not even a nearby shade tree in the summer or a place to curl up in when the weather turns stormy or cold.

Many chained dogs are neglected. It is easy to “forget” to feed and water the chained dog. Out of sight means out of mind in too many cases. In an open yard, chained dogs are vulnerable to attacks by other dogs. They can’t hide or get away. They are also susceptible to “teasing:” abuse by children. That dog doesn’t think it is funny to be poked with a stick or to have his food or water bowl taken away “in fun.” But when the dog eventually bites someone taunting him, stealing his food, or entering his chained territory, he is deemed dangerous and disposed of.

Dogs are social animals. Chaining them denies them interaction with other canines and with their owners. Picture yourself living in prison in solitary confinement, without interaction with others of your own species.

Thankfully, many areas are passing anti-tethering laws. There are times when tying a dog outside for a short period of time is a necessary or temporary convenience, but to confine a dog solely to a lonely life at the end of a chain is cruel.

It is suspected that those who would most vocally oppose an anti-tethering law would be those who own but neglect a dog and those involved in dogfighting. Fighting dogs are kept chained separately because they are trained to be highly aggressive to other animals.

So, this said, you can guess I am not on the side of the folks who used to own a dog rescued from death in a yard at the end of a chain and named Doogie by his rescuer. His rescuer’s name is Tammy Grimes and she is scheduled to go on trial in Pennsylvania for saving the dog, getting him medical care, and refusing to return him to die at the end of a chain. The way the previous owners treated him was cruelty, against the law, but the law there has refused to prosecute them. Instead, they are prosecuting Tammy Grimes.

When will men stop thinking of animals as inanimate objects? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out animals can experience fear and pain, and deserve far better than they often receive. If you want something to help you relax at the end of a hard day that requires no financial commitment for upkeep and no effort to care for, get a porch swing. But if you want to be greeted with enthusiasm and affection, get a dog. He’s worth the effort and expense.

But don’t chain him in a far corner of the yard and forget he exists. Doogie had five months of freedom from a chain before he died. Five happy months with vet care, medication, nourishing food and loving contact.

And for that freedom, for Doogie and other chained dogs, Tammy Grimes is willing to go to jail. Perhaps the DA will have a change of heart and the previous owners who chained him and left him to die will be prosecuted instead. When you read the story of how law enforcement and the judicial system has dealt with the rescuer instead of the abuser, you might wonder which species – animal or human – in certain cases best fits the derogatory term “dumb animal.”

Click here to visit Tammy's website, Dogs Deserve Better.


mark said...

"The D.A., Richard Consiglio, is obviously vacuous when it comes to logical deductions about who should be proscecuted. Possibly his brainstem polarity has been reversed?

You can contact him at 814-693-3010 or E-mail him at

Be polite (I can't), but get your point across that he should be heading the other direction and not wasting taxpayer dollars and his time by taking the wrong road.

I wish it was the road to Hell.
Mark Crider
Carcass Crispy, Texas

Sled Dog Action Coalition said...

Chaining is terribly cruel to dogs. Did you know that Iditarod dogs are forced to live at the end of four or five foot chains? Dogs who don't make a musher's main team aren't taken off chain. For more facts, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition web page: