We've all seen them - dogs chained up out in the cold or heat, some with no water or food.
We wonder why people would do this to animals. There should be a better way.
Well, there is.
Dogs Deserve Better, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of neglected dogs, is sponsoring Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week.
Dogs chained outdoors or left in outdoor pens suffer both physically and mentally. They are easy to forget and often suffer extreme neglect.
Dogs chained outdoors for lengthy periods - often their entire lives - suffer from being denied the companionship of humans or of other dogs, so they can become lonely, fearful and overprotective of their tiny "territories." They may bark uncontrollably out of boredom or fear. Unsocialized, they can be dangerous and unpredictable, attacking anyone who comes too near them. According to DDB, from October 2003 through January 2007 there were at least 112 children killed or seriously injured by chained dogs in the United States.
Rescue workers see thousands of chained dogs who have no shelter or inadequate shelter for the weather conditions and no access to clean water. Their miserable condition shows that they have been poorly or erratically fed. Their coats are matted and dirty, and they are infested with fleas, ticks and internal parasites such as heartworm and roundworm. They are forced to exist in a tiny space where often they cannot avoid their own waste. The chains or leashes by which they are tethered are often so short or so tangled and knotted that they can barely move. Frequently, dogs are injured by tight or heavy collars that dig into their necks.
Animals on chains per se certainly isn't a problem, but ask yourself this question: under what conditions and for how long would YOU like to be chained up outside.
But you can help. If you see animal abuse, contact your local law enforcement or animal shelter.
The Emmet County Animal Shelter has a number of smaller dogs for adoption. For information see www.emmetcountyanimalshelter.org.