Severe behavioral problems are created when dogs are forced to endure all weather extremes while spending their entire lives at the end of a few feet of chain. Dogs are social creatures, but we humans sometimes fail to treat them as such.
That’s why we were pleased to learn of the “Dens for Dogs” project headed up by Cindy Robinson. As Press staff writer Amanda Marsh reported last week, Robinson and other volunteers have canvassed neighborhoods in Johnson City to identify tethered outdoor dogs and make sure they have sufficient housing and bedding for winter.
“Yes it would be wonderful if dogs didn’t have to be tied up, but that’s not reality,” Robinson, a member of the Washington County Humane Society, told the Press. “It’s unfortunate, and because it’s tied up doesn’t mean it’s being neglected.”
Other cities have taken more aggressive measures to deal with tethered dogs. The city of Asheville, N.C., has an ordinance that specifically prohibits the practice. ChainFree Asheville, an organization that pushed for the new rule, also helps to build fences for dog owners who can’t afford them.
Back in 2008, Johnson City commissioners declined to take action on a proposal from the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Control Board to ban the chaining of dogs inside the city limits. The city’s legal staff said commissioners do not have the authority to approve such a ban since it would exceed state animal cruelty laws, which override local ordinances. Certainly, this is an issue that needs to be addressed by state lawmakers.
In the meantime, we can’t say enough good things about people like Cindy Robinson and efforts like the Dens for Dogs project. She is making a real difference in our community, and we need more people like her.
And for those skeptics out there who still don’t think this is a problem, consider this: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that chained dogs are nearly three times more likely to attack than dogs who are not chained.