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September 14, 2011 at 12:36 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Is it Animal Abuse to Chain your Dog?

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

I remember when I was a young girl, chaining your dog up was normal. Our two dogs would be chained to a tree in our back yard for short periods of time, due to their lack of training. We gave them plenty of shade, fresh water, and a 15 ft. long tether. We never left them unattended or out in bad weather. There were many occasions where I had to go out to untangle them. It was our way to give them a space outside to hang out. Is that animal abuse? I honestly do not consider what my parents did with OUR dogs to be animal abuse. They lived inside of our house, while being outside was their opportunity to have some outdoor time without a fence in the yard.

Now, my current house is sometimes considered "Club Med for Pets," according to my neighbors and friends. Romeo, Izzy, Oliver, and Casey all enjoy the freedom of using a doggy door and having a large, fenced in-yard. It is a beautiful green grass backyard that is clean and landscaped attracting the occasional squirrel and bird visits to keep them on their "paws." It is indeed a "Club Med for Pets!"

What is considered animal abuse when chaining up a dog?

Owners that chain their dog on a heavy, short chain to an object with neither shelter nor fresh water in any type of weather are committing animal abuse. It saddens me to see pictures of dogs in such predicaments. When an owner confines their dog in the backyard, even in a dog house, is also unquestionably animal abuse. Why bother having a dog if that is how you plan to interact with your dog?

When is tethering a dog acceptable?

There are many instances when tethering a dog is acceptable or unacceptable. A dog on a restraint to get fresh air or a potty break, if done supervised for a very short period of time, perhaps 2 hours or less, is acceptable. However, tethering or chaining a dog for long periods of time unsupervised is unacceptable. Having proper fitted collars are important to use when tethering your dog for comfort. Tight, prong or martingale collars should not be used. Consider using a pulley run. Making sure your dog has a spacious, safe and clean area to move around is a necessity. You should also provide adequate shelter for the dog even when it is for short periods of time. Avoid tethering your dog during extreme weather conditions as well.

What is being done to prevent this problem?

Over 100 communities in 30 states have passed laws that regulate the tethering of dogs. Some cities have already banned any type of unattended tethering. Other communities have limited the amount of time that a dog can be tethered. Unfortunately, these limitations are quite difficult to enforce.

Some astonishing facts when a dog is improperly chained:

  • A dog kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months or even years suffers immense psychological damage
  • The necks of chained dogs tend to become raw and covered with sores, which is the result of improperly fitted collars, constant yanking of the chain, and straining to escape confinement.
  • Dogs have been found with collars embedded in their necks, which is the result of years of neglect
  • Children are seriously injured every year when approaching a chained up dog due to the dog guarding its territory
  • Chained dogs have accidentally hung or choked themselves to death when improperly tethered
  • Chained dogs are often harassed, taunted, teased, or abused in other ways
  • In some cases, chained dogs have been stolen and used as "bait" in illegal dog fighting operations

Problems Dogs may experience when forced to be chained for long periods

  • Overturned water dish
  • Limited or no shelter
  • Flea and insect infestation
  • Forced to step or sleep in their own excrement
  • Having little or no grass due to the dog's pacing which tends to beat down on it
  • Behavioral issues such as depression, aggression, separation anxiety, and exhibiting neurotic behavior such as turning in circles and extreme pacing

My Final Verdict

Chaining dogs without using the proper guidelines is, in my opinion, animal abuse. Can you imagine not having the freedom to move around comfortably with almost no interaction with humans? Is this what we do to "Man's Best Friend?" Dogs want to be with their humans, they need to be with their humans. These are social animals that crave interaction with others and we should be giving them the attention they deserve.

Facts and Statistics provided by The Human Society of The United States

Photo Credit:

Zebra Pares


ASPCA - Animal Laws About The Issues Tethering

Humane Society - Chaining / Tethering

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1 Comment

  • We will tie our dog outside by the kids' swing when he seems to have an urge to dig. We'll leave him tied to the tree (on a 30 foot leash) while the kids play. It's in the shade, and he LOVES it!

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