This Valentine’s Day, Dogs Deserve Better will be sending Valentine’s Day cards and dog treat coupons to the owners of chained dogs across the country during it’s "Have a Heart for Chained Dogs" week. The gift is accompanied by a brochure for the dog’s owner, explaining why the practice is a form of abuse and encouraging them to bring their dog indoors or to re-home the animal. This year the group hopes to send 15,000 such packages.
The HSUS points out that because dogs are social animals they need regular interaction with their family, and that chained dogs will experience boredom, loneliness, and isolation, which will eventually lead to territorial and aggressive behavior. This is illustrated by the fact that almost 300 children were killed or seriously injured by chained dogs in 2003, with a recent high-profile case being that of 2 year-old Matthew Clayton Hurt who was killed in Arkansas in October 2009 by a chained dog protecting her puppies. California, Maryland and Nevada have all passed laws that limit the tethering of dogs, with Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Washington currently working on laws that will limit this activity.
The charity wants dog owners across the country to take action to help end the practice by assisting the Dogs Deserve Better group in identifying chained dogs. If you know of a perpetually chained dog you can anonymously provide the dog’s address to the group. Other ways members of the public can assist is in making Valentine’s Day cars, donating pet treat coupons and donating directly.
Photograph courtesy Dogs Deserve Better.