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Sunday, 23 September 2018

Dogs Chained for Life Campaign
Written by Robert Fisk   
Saturday, 04 February 2006

Last year MFOA sponsored and had passed the first state legislation in the country affecting dogs being left outside unattended. It was a solid step in educating the legislature about the plight of these animals. It has spurred a campaign to increase public and legislative awareness of an issue we think is a sleeping giant among animal protection issues.

One of the most frequent requests MFOA hears from our members is about doing something about what we call “dogs chained for life.” Time and again we get calls about dogs continuously being left outside in inhumane conditions. In our view it is arguably the most pervasive form of animal cruelty that we presently have in the state, especially given Maine winters.

 Files for you to Download

pdf 10 Ways You Can Help

pdf Door Hanger

pdf insert

doc Sample Letter to the Editor

doc Sample Letter to the Dog Owner

These are canines of all breeds that are tethered outside day after day, night after night, week after week, month after month. Rarely do these chained or tethered dogs receive sufficient care. They suffer from sporadic feedings, overturned water bowls, frozen water bowls, inadequate shelter, inadequate veterinary care if any, and extremes in weather and temperature. The dogs have to eat, sleep, urinate and defecate in a single confined area. They beat down the grass and therefore their ground often consists of nothing more than dirt or mud. In many cases, the necks of chained dogs become raw and covered with sores, the result of improperly fitted collars and the dogs constant yanking and straining to escape confinement.

This miserable existence is only a portion of the story about the abuse these animals suffer. Dogs are pack animals. Since the pack of long ago is gone, we humans have become their pack. When we isolate these animals they suffer immeasurably mentally. Our companion animal friend who craves our attention is left alone without even minimal social time with humans. Due to the bad smells coming from a dog that has never been bathed, chained dogs are further reduced from receiving even minimal affection. There is no sadder sight than these outcast, forlorn, forgotten animals, relegated to the status of lawn ornaments and virtually ignored.

In addition to the psychological damage wrought by continuous chaining, dogs forced to live on a chain make easy targets for other animals, humans and biting insects. A chained animal may also suffer harassment and teasing from insensitive humans.

The story still doesn’t end there. The longer the animal is left in these conditions the worst it gets for all involved. An otherwise friendly and docile dog becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious and can become highly aggressive. Dogs feel naturally protective of their only territory; when confronted with a perceived threat, they respond according to their fight-or-flight instinct. A chained dog, unable to take flight, often feels forced to fight, attacking any unfamiliar animal or person who unwittingly wanders into his or her territory. An unsocialized dog can and will lash out at humans, especially children. In 2004, chained dogs attacked and killed or seriously injured at least 21 children in this country  MFOA’s bill made changes in requirements on tethering, collars, length of tether and shelter for these dogs left outside continuously. It is the goal of the ‘Dogs Chained For Life’ campaign to spend 2006 educating the general public and legislators about this abuse and go back to the next legislature to increase considerations for these animals and provide daily time off the tether, something not done in a state legislature yet. If we are successful perhaps Maine can be a model to other states in treating mans best friend as he deserves to be treated.
See Legislation and Campaigns page for more information in how you can help the campaign.

Watch the "Dog's Chained For Life" PSA video


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