Chaining a dog is cruel and dangerous both for the dog and the people around it.



According to the United State Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a dog that has been chained for a prolonged period of time is almost three times as likely to bite as one who has freedom to move around.A study of fatal dog attacks from 1965-2001 found that 25 percent were inflicted by chained dogs. Unaltered male dogs were the most likely to attack. The American Veterinary Medical Association has issued a public statement that chaining a dog, “can contribute to aggressive behavior."



Chaining or tethering a dog refers 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. Walking a dog on a leash is not a form of tethering. The Humane Society of the United States says that most chained dogs live their lives away from the prying eyes of neighbors but, sadly, most of us know of a dog in this situation.



Dogs are social animals genetically designed to live in family groups and interact with each other and human beings. A dog kept confined for days, weeks or a lifetime can suffer irreparable psychological damage. Imagine yourself in the same condition. A docile friendly animal may become fearful and aggressive. The physical results of chaining include sores and raw spots on the neck from struggling and ill fitted collars, heat exhaustion and injury or even death brought about by prolonged exposure to the cold. Tethered dogs may become entangled in their chain or rope and be unable to access food and water or even accidently hang themselves.



An Apalachicola landlord, cleaning a newly purchased rental property found a large section of pipe in the back yard with a chain and collar attached and the skeleton of the dog that was left there to starve.



The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a statement in the July 2, 1996, Federal Register declaring tethering dogs to be inhumane. In 1997, the USDA ruled that people and organizations regulated by the Animal Welfare Act cannot keep dogs continuously chained



Throughout the state of Florida, there are now movements to ban chained dogs or limit the time a dog can be chained and the conditions under which chaining is acceptable.



Collier and Escambia Counties as well as Miami, Okaloosa, and Seminole all prohibit chaining. Dania, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Oakland Park, West Palm Beach, Wilton Manors, Pembroke Park, Tarpon Springs and Orange County limit the time a dog can be chained to “the period it takes to complete a brief task during which the dog must be temporarily restrained.” The courts have set a precedent of around three hours. Many ordinances also include a stipulation that the owner may not leave a chained dog alone.



If you have neighbors with a chained dog, consider talking to them about the animal’s welfare.



If you are interested in helping chained dogs, there are several useful websites. Visit http://www.unchainyourdog.org/; http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/ or http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/chaining_tethering/facts/chaining_tethering_facts.html for suggestions on helping to unchain mans’ best friend.