A lonely dog named Bear spends his life outside at the end of a short, tangled chain attached to a leaky, dilapidated doghouse. He whines and barks constantly, especially during the freezing cold winter nights. The people never let him inside — they have a baby now. He is ignored, underfed, unlicensed, not socialized, not vaccinated or neutered. He is trapped, a target for malicious people and vulnerable to attacks by other animals.
Nash died on the end of his chain. Nash’s captors wouldn’t part with him because he once belonged to their grandpa. How would Grandpa have felt to see his dog lying dead on a bare patch of ground?
Sadly, there are too many stories like these; the excuses vary (the people are “allergic,” the dog was never trained, she got too big, he sheds) but the suffering is the same. No dog wants to be an outside dog. Would you trade places with them even for a day? How about a lifetime of frozen water in the winter, fly bitten ears in the summer, boredom, danger, hunger and pain?
Canines are not wild animals, they are domesticated pack animals who suffer physically and mentally when isolated and neglected, especially in extreme weather. They are social creatures who are hardwired to live as part of a family unit.
No one is suggesting that everyone should love dogs but anyone who is unwilling or unable to provide at least the minimum standards of care, socialization and training for a dog should not be permitted to have one. Responsible dog owners confine a dog to their property in a humane way, ideally with a secure fence, when dog is outside for reasonable intervals. They do not leave their dog to suffer their whole lives until they die on the chain.
Chaining bans lead to safer, cleaner communities. Who wants to live near a manure-filled yard with neglected, barking dogs in it? Criminal dog fighters (who are frequently linked to organized crime and other violent activities) often have dogs continuously chained on their property. An otherwise peaceful dog that is neglected and never socialized can become territorial and aggressive. This poses a danger if they escape their pen or chain or if someone accidentally gets too close. Think about it, dogs who are kept in the house can’t escape their pens or chains to run amok.
Since the Dog Confinement Ordinance 91.62 took effect last July, it is illegal to keep a dog continuously chained 24/7 in the city of Dayton. The ordinance can be viewed on the City of Dayton web page: http://www.cityofdayton.org/. Click on “City Commission Office” then “Dog Confinement Ordinance.”
For violations, call the Dayton Police at the non-emergency number: 937-333-2677.
Since it can be difficult to enforce the timing, please pay special attention to the specific conditions of the ordinance such as the 15-foot minimum length of the chain with a swivel at both ends and the important requirement that the dog have continuous access to water and shelter.
If you care about humane treatment for animals and a safer, more progressive community, you will want to consider joining like-minded citizens in the local Vote 4 Animals voting bloc. Other valuable resources can be found at Dogs Deserve Better — www.dogsdeservebetter.org and Unchain Your Dog — www.unchainyourdog.org
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Gail Downie is an animal advocate and a vegetarian who lives in the Belmont business district area.