Dog-chaining deserves quick action

Published 9:54 pm Friday, January 18, 2013

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the decision that Suffolk City Council made to monitor the issue of chaining dogs in Suffolk.

We know that continuous chaining is bad for dogs. Dogs are pack animals and have been bred for thousands of years to form a strong attachment to a human family. A dog that begins life healthy and happy, when later kept continually chained and isolated, often becomes neurotic, fearful and aggressive. In fact, studies show that chained dogs are much more likely to bite than unchained dogs, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

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Dogs that are chained may unintentionally hang themselves if they are close to a fence and try to jump the fence. Dogs that are chained are also subject to cruelty of humans or other animals, because they are not able to escape harm.

The issue at hand is not simply chaining dogs. The bigger issue is that of treating animals with kindness and compassion. Suffolk Humane believes that if you make a decision to welcome an animal companion into your life, that animal deserves respect, care and kindness. Chaining a dog is not compassionate, period.

Many cities and counties have addressed this unsafe practice in an effort to prevent tragedies from happening in their community. Suffolk should not wait to consider legislation until after a tragedy occurs.

Michelle Thames,
Interim Executive Director
Suffolk Humane Society