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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Personal Plea for Chained Dogs- I Beg You To Read This!

I am reposting this piece (and will continue to do so occasionally) to remind folks not to chain their dogs...

As by now, you are aware, we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog because of an incident precipitated by Leash Agression.

Yesterday I called our trainer, Jennifer, to tell her the news. She too, was saddened by this incident. Koda was so bright and personable, she could have been a wonderful dog. Jennifer was very kind and consoling, assuring me that we had done everything in our power to retrain Koda. We discussed the role that the psychology of her past had played in the incident. One of Koda's former owners, a young man, used to take her to work on the night shift at a cement plant and tie her up ourside. It is likely that he unwittingly caused her much psychological damage in doing this.

Jennifer told me that in her experience, more than 90% of the dogs she deals with who have issues, have been affected by human treatment. I find this appalling. Power comes with responsibility. We as humans have a great responsibility to the creatures on this planet. Our everyday decisions impact their individual destinies, and ultimately their survival as a species.

Eons ago, the wild canine species, for some reason, agreed to domestication. Probably of necessity and later out of affection. Think of all of the other wild animals who have not submitted to human will. But cats and dogs, horses, and a few others have willingly come under our subjugation. There is no turning back to wildness for them, nowhere to go. Now they are utterly dependent upon man for their existence. In return for this dependence, they are mistreated and abandoned at our whim; treated as an object for our amusement...discarded when they are no longer wanted. Our shelters are bursting at the seams and animals are being euthanized at a rate that would shame Auschwitz. Perhaps it is we, and not the canine who are animals!

I am posting this excerpt from Life on Chain by Margaret LaTour,  http://www.spdrdogs.org/pdf/Life%20on%20a%20Chain.pdf ,  in an effort to educate people about the horrible practice of chaining dogs, and the effect it has upon them. Please take the time to read this article, then educate your family, your friends, and your co-workers about it. Please do this for me...and for Koda.

Why is a Chain Abusive?

Dogs are social animals, needing to be with their human families.       Being chained outside isolates them and denies them this basic need. The dog quickly becomes neglected and its intellect must find other   outlets – for instance, digging, chewing, barking, nervous pacing,     and aggression, all for which the dog will be punished.

The behavior of the chained dog is a result of fear. S/he is exposed to danger, real or imagined, and cannot run away or defend. This   dog lives in a world of terror. The dog can see its outer territory -  
the house, other parts of the yard – and cannot defend it. This drives them to intensify defense of the small area they occupy, the perimeter of the chain. Many people have been bitten by a chained dog.

The chained dog receives little or no positive, loving attention. What they do get from people is teasing, taunting, poisoning, thrown rocks, and more terror. Since the chained dog is exposed to whatever comes by, s/he becomes, in the words of Dennis Fetko, Ph.D., “defensively aggressive. The chain/tether also promotes attack by triggering an opposition reflex (thigmotaxis).”

Living life on a chain is also dangerous. I recently grief counseled a man who had tied up his 11 month old female German Shepherd in his yard and went into his house. Thirty minutes later, he found his dog hanged to death on the other side of the fence. Another 14-month old female German Shepherd was brought to the Bellevue Humane Society for attempting the same maneuver. Besides this danger, there is the very real chance of attack from stray dogs,
coyotes, or raccoons. The chained dog cannot get away. Also, physical injury can result from the chain or rope itself— neck injury, injury to the trachea or larynx, or to the teeth from chewing on the    chain. Herniated disks can occur from pulling against the tension.     

The chained dog always remains exposed to the whims of people      outside. A person intent on robbing the house or hurting its occupants is aided by the chain. Also, a person who intends to         
injure the dog has no obstacle. Dogs belong in homes with their        families. Any applicant coming through SPDR{Seattle Purebred        Dog Rescue} applying for a dog that will be chained is denied.       

These are just a few reasons why.


jojo said...

very moving. I hope the message gets out there. We too have a dog that was abused in her former life and it has taken her years and years to trust us. She also has problems being on a leash and until I heard your story a few days ago I never put it together with the abuse she suffered. No wonder she has a love/hate relationship with walking.

Myrna R. said...

This is so heartbreaking. I hope more people learn that chaining a dog is inhumane. As I write this, I glance at my two spoiled, loved and appreciated boxers and wish more people understood the beaty of a relationship with a well cared for animal. Sorry about Kody. So sad.

Debora said...

Thank you Myrna. I don't think people intend to harm their dogs, they are just ignorant. They do what they saw their parents do, with no thought about the impact on the creature. Glad your boxers are well-loved. We now have Baron and he is also a very beloved member of our family.

BECKY said...

So sad! You know how much I love dogs.


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