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Blogs and Stories

February 1, 2020
Amy Wade Carotenuto

Anti-Tethering

Please don’t chain your best friend.

If you’re reading this, you probably would never leave your dog on a chain or tether, but do you know someone who does? Dogs are pack animals so being isolated on the end of a tether is torture for them.

When we bring a dog into our family we become their pack. When they are away from us, they suffer mentally, they don’t understand why they are shut out. Dogs are social beings who thrive on interaction with people and animals.

The Florida weather may be nice much of the time, but life on a chain is boring and lonely. When dogs are bored they tend to develop behavior problems. They have pent up energy when they don’t get enough exercise. All that excess energy can lead to obnoxious behaviors like jumping and vocalizing. Dogs can become anxious and even aggressive. The aggressive behavior often comes because dogs feel that the tiny piece of ground where they spend 24 hours a day is theirs. Dogs feel protective of their territory. When confronted with what they may see as a threat, their fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. A chained dog, unable to flee, often feels forced to fight and may attack anyone, even a child who enters their space.

In Flagler County our animal protection officers still see dogs on chains. Very often chaining dogs is just a portion of the neglect. Chained dogs are often mistreated in other ways. They suffer from sporadic feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate vet care, lack of exercise, and extreme temperatures. Their necks can become infected from too-tight collars. Their necks may be sore from heavy chains. We weighed a chain last year that a dog had around it’s neck. The chain weighed 17lbs. Roughly half the weigh of the dog. Chains get tangled, potentially choking the dogs. They can’t escape storms or attacking animals. They are forced to eat, sleep, and eliminate in one small area. Grass gets beaten into hard-packed dirt. They often have limited shelter, that floods when it rains. Chained dogs and are easily ignored by their owners, as just a part of the back yard.

Last year the City of Bunnell passed an anti-tethering ordinance, the first in Flagler County. Animals may still be tethered, but for shorter amounts of time and with several restrictions involving temperatures etc.

Flagler Humane Society and Animal Services has proposed an anit-tethering ordinance to our County that would also restrict tethering. The City of Flagler Beach and Palm Coast will hopefully soon follow.

If you know of a dog who lives continually on the end of a chain, please notify us. Our officers can reach out and provide counseling and more. Right now FHS has some grant funding to help people construct fences. We can help with new collars, training and even pet rent deposits. Our goal is not to punish the owner, but to educate. Often times, if an owner realizes what the dog is going through and has some tips to correct negative behaviors, a chained dog can be brought into the home and become part of the family instead of part of the yard.

Flagler Animal Services may be reached at 386-246-8612 or rescueme@flaglerhumanesociety.org