To the editor:
For every lucky dog who has a comfortable home, nutritious food and loving guardians, countless other dogs are suffering at the hands of incompetent or abusive people, are struggling to survive on the streets or are waiting in animal shelters for a forever home.
In this community alone, countless dogs are kept chained up - forced to eat, sleep and relieve themselves in the same filthy patch of dirt, far from the human companions they long to be with. Most of these dogs have never been for a walk nor played a game of fetch. They have never enjoyed a ride in a car, and have never known a moment of love. Dogs are pack animals and possess a strong need for social interaction. The cruelest thing you can do to a dog is to force him into solitary confinement. I find it difficult to comprehend why anyone would acquire a dog and then choose to ignore the animal for the rest of his life
If he's for protection, what do you think I want to steal - your lawn? Just what is the dog protecting out there? Most dogs kept outside cause far more nuisance complaints from barking because of boredom and escaping than any deterrent to intrusion. Chained dogs - like all animals left outside and unsupervised - are also susceptible to the cruel, abusive acts of passersby. Others freeze to death during cold snaps after being ignored by heartless owners. And many are deprived of proper food, water, shelter and veterinary care.
Chained dogs are very likely to become aggressive. When a chained dog feels threatened and his "fight-or- flight" instinct kicks in, the dog can't flee. He is forced to fight. Over time, chained dogs tend to become very territorial of their little patch of earth. When an aggressive and territorial dog escapes, he is a real danger to the community. Especially since most backyard dogs are not vaccinated for rabies or other diseases.
Chaining a dog 24 hours a day is unacceptable treatment for man's (and woman's) best friend and it should be abolished. Because chaining is legal in this area, it is up to citizens to take action. If a backyard dog is in imminent danger - if the animal is very thin, is obviously ill or injured, or has no shelter or cannot access it - notify local animal authorities immediately.
Many chained dogs' lives have been transformed and saved by the caring actions of concerned people, but working with elected representatives to pass ordinances that ban or restrict tethering is the most effective way to help chained dogs. Numerous cities and counties have already addressed this practice in an effort to prevent tragedies from striking near home, while others consider such legislation only after chained dogs maul local children.
An outdoor dog has an address, not a home. Dogs offer real value as companion animals. Stop behavior problems and start enjoying real protection and companionship. Please bring your dogs inside.