Saturday, March 03, 2012

Chaining Dogs

Massachusetts is considering a bill that would put limits on how long a dog could be kept on a tether or chain. This is done because tying out dogs is typically associated with cases of animal neglect, and dog attacks. I know of a dog that is chained out every day, all day long. And there is nothing that can be done. Animal control has been called, and some friends of mine have been told that what the owners are doing isn't illegal. But, I do think it is inhumane. Dogs can die or be severely injured or attacked when they are chained out. Dogs also feel trapped on a chain, so they are more likely to attack strangers that approach.

On the other hand, sometimes for the safety of a dog, you need to tether them. If you are camping with your dog, it is wise to tether your dog to a tree to prevent them from getting into the camp fire, running off, or bothering other nearby campsites. Or, if you are on a road trip, and have stopped your car at a rest stop to eat a sandwich, it is a good idea to tether the dog to a pole or tree so the dog can stretch, stand up, and be awake for a while. Just don't ever attach the tether to the bumper of the car... yes, that was funny in National Lampoon's Vacation movie... but it really happens and dogs do get dragged to death from time to time. Another legitimate use is in any other circumstance where the dog might risk injury, or might harm some other person or animal if not temporarily restrained.

This proposed law:

1.) Bans the use of heavy chains. Pit fighters put heavy chains on their dogs to aggravate them. It makes them miserable, and they want them miserable so they will be more willing to fight. It is cruel.

2.) Eight hour limit. Dogs cannot be tied out for more than 8 hours.

3.) Dogs can't be tethered from 11 pm to 7 am. I'm sure the hope is that the dogs will come inside, or at least be able to move about. And probably to limit night time barking. Dogs that feel trapped would tend to bark more.

4.) Penalties. Range from $100 to $300, plus the dog can be taken away after a third violation.

In an ideal world, people wouldn't tie out dogs like this as a way to leave them in the yard. It really is unhealthy, and it messes with the dog's mind. I think it is cruel. But, we also have to realize that this dog chaining law is about Boston politics, and so sometimes a watered down law is all you are going to get. On the other hand, this won't stop pit fighters from chaining out their dogs and ruining them. They are criminals. If they don't care about killing dogs, why would they care about this kind of law? They'll just chain the dog out anyway, in a part of town where even the police don't feel safe, and where the police have better things to do than to issue a ticket for this kind of thing.

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