No More Chained Dogs

Why Chaining is Cruel
Reprinted from

1. What is meant by "chaining" or "tethering" dogs?
These terms refer to the practice of fastening a dog to a stationary object or stake, usually in the owner's backyard, as a means of keeping the animal under control. These terms do not refer to the periods when an animal is walked on a leash.

2. Is there a problem with continuous chaining or tethering?
Yes, the practice is both inhumane and a threat to the safety of the confined dog, other animals, and humans.

3. Why is tethering a dog inhumane?
Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals. In the wild, dogs and wolves live, eat, sleep, and hunt with a family of other canines. Dogs are genetically determined to live in a group.

A dog kept chained alone in one spot for hours, days, months, or even years suffers immense psychological damage. An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and often aggressive. 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. Some chained dogs have collars embedded in their necks, the result of years of neglect at the end of a chain. Chained dogs frequently become entangled in their chains, too, and unable to access food, water, and shelter.

4. Who says tethering dogs is inhumane?
In addition to The Humane Society of the United States and numerous animal experts, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a statement in the July 2, 1996, Federal Register against tethering: "Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog's movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog's shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog's movement and potentially causing injury."

In 1997, the USDA ruled that people and organizations regulated by the Animal Welfare Act cannot keep dogs continuously chained.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has also stated "Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggressive behavior."

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concluded in a study that the dogs most likely to attack are male, unneutered, and chained.

5. How does tethering or chaining dogs pose a danger to humans?
Dogs tethered for long periods can become highly aggressive. Dogs feel naturally protective of their 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.

Numerous attacks on people by tethered dogs have been documented. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reported that 17% of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans between 1979 and 1998 were restrained on their owners' property at the time of the attack, and the book Fatal Dog Attacks states that 25% of fatal attacks were inflicted by chained dogs of many different breeds.

Tragically, the victims of such attacks are often children who are unaware of the chained dog's presence until it is too late. Furthermore, a tethered dog who finally does get loose from his chains may remain aggressive, and is likely to chase and attack unsuspecting passersby and pets.

6. Do chained dogs make good guard dogs?
No. Chaining creates aggression, not protectiveness. A protective dog is used to being around people and can sense when his family is being threatened. A dog learns to be protective by spending lots of time with people and by learning to know and love his human family.

Leaving a dog on a chain and ignoring him is how to raise an aggressive dog. Aggressive dogs can't distinguish between a threat and a family friend, because they are not used to people. Aggressive dogs will attack anyone: children who wander into the yard, the meter reader, the mailman.

Statistics show that one of the best deterrents to intruders is an inside dog. Intruders will think twice about entering a home with a dog on the other side of the door. Learn more about 
what makes the best Guard Dog.

7. Why is tethering dangerous to dogs?
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 suffer harassment from passers-by, stinging bites from insects, and attacks by other animals.

Chained dogs are also easy targets for thieves looking to steal animals for sale to research institutions or to be used as training fodder for organized animal fights. Finally, dogs' tethers can become entangled with other objects, which can choke or strangle the dogs to death.

8. Are these dogs dangerous to other animals?
In some instances, yes. Any other animal that comes into their area of confinement is in jeopardy. Cats, rabbits, smaller dogs, and others may enter the area when the tethered dog is asleep and then be fiercely attacked when the dog awakens.

9. Are tethered dogs otherwise treated well?

Rarely does a chained or tethered dog receive sufficient care. Tethered dogs suffer from sporadic feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate veterinary care, and extreme temperatures. During snow storms, these dogs often have no access to shelter. During periods of extreme heat, they may not receive adequate water or protection from the sun.

What's more, because their often neurotic behavior makes them difficult to approach, chained dogs are rarely given even minimal affection. Tethered dogs may become "part of the scenery" and can be easily ignored by their owners.

10. Are the areas in which tethered dogs are confined usually comfortable?
No, because the dogs have to eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate in a single confined area. Owners who chains their dogs are also less likely to clean the area. Although there may have once been grass in an area of confinement, it is usually so beaten down by the dog's pacing that the ground consists of nothing but dirt or mud.

11. But how else can people confine dogs?
Dogs prefer to live inside with their family, with regular walks and exercise time outside. You don't have to have a fence to have a dog! Think about the thousands of apartment-dwellers in large cities who don't even have yards. Their dogs are perfectly happy living inside with regular walks.

If an animal needs to be housed outside at certain times, he should be placed in a fenced area with adequate square footage and shelter from the elements.

12. Should chaining or tethering ever be allowed?
To become well-adjusted companion animals, dogs should interact regularly with people and other animals, and should receive regular exercise.

It is an owner's responsibility to properly restrain her dog, just as it is the owner's responsibility to provide adequate attention and socialization. Placing an animal on a restraint to get fresh air can be acceptable if it is done for a short period. However, keeping an animal tethered for long periods is never acceptable.

13. If a dog is chained or tethered for a period of time, can it be done humanely?
Animals who must be kept on a tether should be secured in such a way that the tether cannot become entangled with other objects. Collars used to attach an animal should be comfortable and properly fitted; choke chains should never be used. Restraints should allow the animal to move about and lie down comfortably. Animals should never be tethered during natural disasters such as floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or blizzards.

14. What about attaching a dog's leash to a "pulley run"?
Attaching a dog's leash to a long line—such as a clothesline or a manufactured device known as a pulley run—and letting the animal have a larger area in which to explore is preferable to tethering the dog to a stationary object. However, most of the same problems associated with tethering still apply, including attacks on or by other animals, lack of socialization, and safety.

15. What can be done to correct the problem of chained dogs?
More and more communities are passing laws that regulate the practice of tethering animals. New Orleans LA, Tuscon AZ, Okaloosa FL, Carthage MO, Lawton, OK and other cities ban all chaining. The state of Connecticut, along with Wichita KS, Denver CO, Austin TX, Norfolk VA, West Palm Beach FL, and others allow dogs to be chained only for a limited number of hours a day. Little Rock AR, along with other cities, ban fixed-point chaining but do allow pulley runs. See a 
complete list of anti-chaining laws

16. Why should a community outlaw the continuous chaining or tethering of dogs?
Animal control and humane agencies receive calls every day from citizens concerned about animals in these cruel situations. Animal control officers, paid at taxpayer expense, spend many hours trying to educate pet owners about the dangers and cruelty involved in this practice. Regulations against chaining also give officers a tool to crack down on illegal dog fighting, since many fighting dogs are kept on chains.

A chained animal is caught in a vicious cycle; frustrated by long periods of boredom and social isolation, he becomes a neurotic shell of his former self—further deterring human interaction and kindness. In the end, the helpless dog can only suffer the frustration of watching the world go by in isolation—a cruel fate for what is by nature a highly social animal. Any city, county, or state that bans this practice is a safer, more humane community.


A Real Life Story About a Chained Dog: Me and Pudgie -- chained no more!
(From the Best Friend's website) - Michael Mountain's story of adopting a formerly chained Sheltie. 

When Pudgie, a handsome Sheltie, came to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, he’d spent seven years on the end of a chain in someone’s backyard. That’s no more of a life for a dog than it would be for you or me. 

With nothing more to do with his life than pull at the chain and bark, that’s what he did. Day after day after week after month after year. He barked and barked ... until his family had him de-barked. That’s a surgical operation to cut his vocal cords. 

With no voice and no way of getting away, Pudgie was defenseless. When people – usually kids – came up to him, often to taunt him, he tried to defend himself by snapping at them. They would stay just out of reach and laugh at him – perhaps throw things at him. Eventually he just shut down and went into depression. Just like you or I would. His family got fed up with him and gave him up. 

Here at the sanctuary, it was difficult to place Pudgie in a new home. Although it was a huge relief to be off that terrible chain, he’d developed a seven-year automatic instinct to snap at any hands that came too near his face. So if you walked up to him to pet him, he’d suddenly snap at you. He couldn’t help it. 

We found a secluded home, so I took him home myself to my house at the back of the sanctuary. He'd be safe there, and I'd be able to warn visitors not to wave their hands in front of his face. But it still took another two years for Pudgie to feel safe. At first he was terrified even of going outdoors. (“Are they going to put me on a chain again?”) 

Three years later, he’s still liable to snap at hands waving too near his nose. And when something excites him, he twirls in circles (as though he were on a chain) and barks in the only whisper of a voice that remains after that operation. 

Still, he’s a happy old thing now, and he seems to have let go of much of the past. 

But there are hundreds of thousands of dogs who are not so lucky. They’re still chained and tethered and going crazy from boredom and anxiety in the back yard, often without any shade in the blazing heat of summer, and often without even a water bowl. (Often their owner doesn’t even notice that they’ve stepped on the water bowl while straining at the chain and have been without water all day.) 

The American Veterinary Medical Association says, “Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggressive behavior.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a chained dog is 2.8 times more likely to bite than an unchained dog. Also according to the CDC, “The dogs most likely to bite are male, un-neutered, and chained.” 

About two-thirds of attacks by chained dogs involve children – the same kind of kids who were taunting Pudgie. 

Chained dogs can also choke when their chains became entangled with other objects. They can develop infections and severe wounds when their collars become embedded in their necks. 

Our real story about three pitties that lived life on a chain

In July of 2012, Big Bully Rescue went to a community in Phoenix, Arizona and we rescued three pitbulls that had no life, and they received no compassion and they had no idea of the real outside world. All three dogs had chain/collar wounds around their necks. All three pitties had only 4 to maybe 5 feet of rope tied around a tree. The dogs ate, slept and pooped and peed within a 4 foot area. One of the pitbulls had actually been abandoned by his owners and left to fend for himself, which without the help and concern of neighbors to look in on him and provide food and water, he may not have lived. The other two pitbulls were owned dogs. With the help of interpreter, we pleaded with the owners to let the dogs go, it was our mission to educate them that how the dogs were living was inhumane. Dogs are not property! our belief is dogs are "family members".  Two hours later, Big Bully Rescue drove away with three pitbulls no-longer chained. 

Before and after photos:

This is the dog rescued and named "Elvis" ***UPDATE*** ADOPTED October 7, 2012 
Elvis is one of the most affectionate pitbulls you will ever meet. He craves human affection and contact, he loves stuffed toys to play with. In just three weeks after his rescue he learned to sit on command and retrieve balls and then later learned to give high-fives. Elvis is good with other dogs too. Elvis is now loved and shown life in its best form. He enjoys his time on his leather couch and sleeping with his mom and dad and fur sister Neesha & fur brother Sam.

This is the dog we rescued and named "Freedom*"UPDATE** ADOPTED MAY, 2013
Freedom is one of the most affectionate bullies you will also ever meet. He too craves human contact and affection. Freedom is approximately 3 years old and he is good  with other dogs. Freedom is a very calm and  special boy that enjoys belly rubs and car rides- Freedom likes to go for walks too. Freedom is all about seeing the world.
Meet "Freedom" Available for Adoption 

This is the dog we rescued and named "Maynard" **UPDATED** ADOPTED MAY 9, 2014
Maynard is also one of the most affectionate bullies you will also ever meet. He too craves human contact and affection. Maynard also enjoys toys, in fact when going for a walk he will carry his toy all the way around the block. We suspect never having toys, he now treasures them. Maynard is the brother of Elvis and Maynard is approximately 4 years old and he is good  with other dogs. Maynard is a funny pitty and a bit of a clown at times and he's a special boy.  Maynard likes to go for walks too. 


In December of 2012, Big Bully Rescue became Placement Partners with Animal Rescue Corps in Operation Broken Chain

After reading the story of 65 dogs found in Cheatham Co Tennessee with heavy chains around their necks and in delporable conditions, Big Bully Rescue had to help at least just one and support the cause.To learn more about Animal Rescue Corps see their website at 

Animal Rescue Corps rescued 65 dogs from horrible conditions in a suspected dog fighting operation. In less than 24 hours ARC mobilized a full response including medical assessments, evidence collection, extraction and sheltering teams to assist in this operation.

Many of the dogs, including the one shown below, responded immediately with affection to the volunteers and medical professionals attending to them. In the coming days, the dogs enjoyed food, clean water, soft bedding, and kind touches. A the weeks to come after their initial rescue and assessments the dogs went into the care of various rescue groups for their continued rehabilitation, care and training.

Moving forward, we will strengthen existing partnerships and build new alliances, because by working together we will put an end to animal suffering. Our story of compassion-in-action will continue to touch the hearts of individuals and plant the seeds of compassion for all animals. Through our determined, compassionate action great change will come, bringing us closer and closer to the responsible and kind society we wish to see. –Scotlund Haisley