Dear Porky and Buddy,
My neighbor down the road has a big dog that looks like some kind of shepherd mix. He keeps him tied out beside his house ALL the time. That means 24/7. He has a dog house and he goes in there when it’s really awful out but mostly he just sits there in the yard.
Once in a while you see one of the kids play with him, but mostly he just sits there or paces on his chain.
I called the dog control officer for my town and she said there is nothing she can do as long as the dog house is adequate and it is.
That can’t be right. What can I do?
Thank you for paying attention to and caring about this dog.
Unfortunately, the dog control officer is right. Your neighbor is not breaking any governmental law by keeping his dog tied up constantly.
He is breaking a natural law, however, concerning the health and happiness of dogs.
Dogs are the ultimate “companion” animal.
They want to be part of their pack and for many dogs, their human family is their pack.
So trying a dog outside, constantly away from his “pack,” is simply cruel.
It’s also very bad for the dog. A dog kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months and sometimes years suffers immense psychological damage.
An otherwise friendly dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy and anxious.
It’s not only bad for the dog – it’s bad for people. A chained dog, unable to take flight, becomes aggressive and often feels forced to fight, attacking any unfamiliar animal or person who comes into his or her territory.
In addition to the psychological damage caused by continuous chaining, a chained animal may suffer harassment and teasing from clueless people, 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 bait for organized animal fights.
Finally, dogs’ chains can become entangled with other objects and can choke or strangle the dogs to death.
But what can you do about it?
Passing laws to forbid or regulate the unattended chaining of dogs is one place to start, (and much too complicated for this column) but will not help your neighbor’s dog in the short run.
Have you or the dog control officer tried to just talk to the neighbor about the dog?
Offered to help maybe by taking him for walks, or supplying a crate so he has a safe place to stay inside the house?
Maybe just helping with finding him a new home?
We don’t know your neighbor and don’t want you to take any risk, but you do and maybe he just has no idea of the harm he is doing to his dog?
Maybe he just doesn’t want the dog but does not know where to turn for help.
The Humane Society could help him with that.
Remember that it used to be much more common for dogs to be tied out all the time and old habits die hard.
Don’t assume the worst about your neighbor at this point.
You can find helpful advice about this low-key but sometimes effective tactic at the website of Dogs Deserve Better, a national organization that works to end the chaining of dogs. www.DogsDeserveBetter.org
Good luck for you and your neighbor’s dog.
And thanks again for your kind-heartedness.
Don’t forget that cats need homes too.
You can adopt a grownup cat a year or older for an adoption fee of only $25 from now until the end of December.
Go to www.oswegohumane.org to see all the possibilities.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office has relocated to 110 W. Second St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other!