9.10.2008

More info on Dog Chaining (or lack thereof)

With the passing of the ordinance in Durham County surrounding the banning of dog chaining, a lot of people are unclear as to what the ordinance means. Can I never have my dog on a tether outside? Are dogs going to be kept in tiny cages now? Both of these issues are covered in the ordinance to provide for maximum comfort of the animal. I asked Meredith some questions about the ordinance, and this was her response - to which she also replied that one of the main arguments around the ordinance is people assume that dog owners will take off the tether and stick the dog in a cage. That, too, is outlawed, and proper enclosure areas are included in the ordinance. I asked Mer about these issues, and here is what she said:

Q: Are there regulations on fence/pen size?
A: The pens/fences/etc. must give the dog 100 square feet if they're 20 pounds
or under and 200 square feet for bigger dogs. Dog houses, water bowls, etc.
are not included as obstructing the square footage.

Q: Is that enough room for the animal?
A. 100 square feet may not seem like a lot, but let's remember some things
beyond space that barriers such as pens or fences provide: protection from
people, from other roaming animals (this is especially important for females in
heat), and this works the other way, as well - barriers provide people safety
from chained animals.

The majority of chained dogs right now don't have nearly the same space that a
10' by 10' pen would allow. Most chains, remember, are tied to trees - this
means the dog doesn't have unobstructed freedom to roam on a chain, even if the
chain is the required 10 feet long as it is in the old ordinance. Chains get
wrapped around trees, knock over water bowls, get tangled in themselves, etc. So in an ideal world, sure, while dogs on a chain could have more space than a
10' by 10' kennel, they don't because other objects in the yard obstruct their
chain.

Q: What is the ultimate purpose of the ordinance?
A: The key is that this ordinance outlaws only unattended tethering. Most people
think the majority of people who tether their animals are responsible dog
owners who tether their dogs while gardening, barbecuing outside, etc. Even
if this were the case (it's definitely not), this is still allowed under the
ordinance. You can tether your animal as long as you are outside with them and
in visual range of them.

The coalition and other advocates of the ban are well aware that the ordinance is not perfect, but it's a good start. Also, if you feel that you don't like the sizing of pens, etc and want to make sure that doesn't happen, I strongly invite you to contribute funds or time to the Coalition to Unchain Dogs to help them increase the number of full backyard fences they can build for the Durham community. The ordinance does not go into effect until 2010, so the Coalition will be ramping up to help as many people as possible get a free fence put up for their dog. But they can't do it without your help. Get out your pocketbook or put on your work gloves to put up a few fences. Truly, this can change the lives of dogs and families all over Durham County.

Go here to get more info on how you can help: http://www.unchaindogs.net/

5 comments:

M said...

An article in yesterday's Herald-Sun:
http://heraldsun.southernheadlines.com/durham/4-987392.cfm

Anonymous said...

If someone killed another person with a hammer would you think that outlawing hammers would stop someone else from committing a murder? You are going about this backwards. A tether is a TOOL that can and has been used humanely. If you outlaw the tool, the result will be fewer homes for dogs and no education for owners.
I have friends who tether their dog. They live in a million dollar subdivision that doesn't allow fences. The dog which is a Jack Russell Terrier goes out several times a day on a tether. It is the most spoiled rotten dog I know. Goes everywhere with the owners, to work at their store, sleeps at their side - is this a "bad" home because they use a tether? Have you ever tried to chase a Jack Russell Terrier? You would be using a tether too. The moral is EDUCATE DON'T LEGISLATE away the rights of Americans to have a "choice" in how they care for their animals just because YOU don't agree with their choice.

M said...

I think you need to read a little closer about the ordinance, angry person. The law does not outlaw all uses of tethers. Dogs are allowed to be on them as long as it isn't longer than a few hours and someone has supervision over them. Your rich friends are more than welcome to keep their dog on a tether as long as they keep a constant watch on the dog. And EDUCATION? There will be nearly a year and a half of education for the public on these issues so people will better understand. Education is a part of this legislation. And no, education can't just be the only policy. people treat animals like property, not like living beings, and people treat property too differently. Yes, your rich friend's dog is spoiled, but there are a lot out there who do not even have a decent quality of life. Any more comments?

Meredith said...

And I think the biggest point angry person is missing is that legislation is one of the best forms of education. How have we taught people in the past what's socially acceptable behavior? We legislate. If your friends have this much money, then it shouldn't be a problem for them save up money for a pen for their jack russell. The Coalition to Unchain Dogs can build a 6 foot chain link fence for $266 (and out of the 105 dogs for which we've built fences, none of them have gotten out), so I'm sure your wealthy friends shouldn't have a problem buying a $100 pen.

Walking their dog also is an option if pens aren't allowed in addition to fences. My apartment complex obviously doesn't allow fences but my solution has never been to tether my dog but rather walk it twice a day. And yes, I have a real job. I wake up an hour earlier and go to sleep an hour later than I would if I didn't have a dog.

And the sad reality is that your friends are the exception to the rule. Like Michelle said, attended tethering still is permitted. Unattended tethering is irresponsible no matter how anyone treats their dog. Unattended tethering leaves dogs without a barrier of protection from other animals and people. Laws always will be viewed unfairly by some party but are your wealthy friends really okay with thousands of other dogs being chained 24/7 just so their jack russell can?

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