The Fight Continues for Tethered Dogs State by State
Day after day and night after night in the unbearable cold, dogs languish at the end of chains and endure endless hours of misery and boredom. You've seen it, had your heart broken by it, and the images haunt you. You've decided to do something about it, and so now your heart is pounding in your ears as you try desperately to explain to the officials before you the seriousness of the plight faced by tethered dogs.
You notice that one gazes aimlessly around the room, while another stares listlessly at desk papers. These are your lawmakers! Suddenly indignant, you sit back down. Agonizing deliberation begins. You gasp sharply as you hear their response of, “Sorry, but we don't feel we are going to be able to enforce a no tether law in this state." This is frequently the response given to advocates who push for legislation to protect dogs from life on a chain. This scene is sadly common for people all over the nation.
“I assumed that they would care. My emails were often ignored,” said Evie Kettler of Georgia. “I was told by my commissioner that not enough people cared about how these dogs lived. I found myself struggling mentally and physically and I don’t think a day ever went by that I didn’t cry about it. Eighteen months I went at it. My life came second to meetings and took a huge toll on my life. I used much of my vacation time to be at meetings. This can sometimes take a very long time depending on where you live. Be prepared to be in it for the long haul.”
Much like Kettler explains, the battle continues despite the obstacles, push back, and legislative apathy. “The biggest obstacles we had passing county anti-chain ordnances were dealing with our hunters that have 25 hunting dogs tethered and feel they need a different rule for them,” said Robin Mitchell of South Carolina, who organized a demonstration on behalf of tethered dogs. “These chains will tell a story of the abuse that people are not seeing,” Mitchell publicly held heavy tethering chains, with a wagon full of them as well, to bring tethering to the public.
Dawn Rupard of North Carolina stated firmly that, “We should be putting more emphasis on humane education.” Unfortunately, time and time again, officials give excuses that are either inaccurate or feeble. "Poor people cannot afford a fence," Ellen McClendon of Alabama said. This generalization not only vilifies people of lower incomes but also uses them as an excuse to avoid humane legislation for animals.
Tethering laws are not impossible to pass and maintain. If it was so difficult to enact tethering laws, how then has the state of California had one of the strongest no chain laws in the country for over a decade? Dedicated animal advocates have been pushing for years repeatedly in the state of Alabama. But, each time, the bill has been killed. In continuing the fight, our team is going to take to the streets with law enforcement, gathering footage that demonstrates our dogs do not have to suffer endlessly on a chain anywhere.
Visual aids and reports from experienced professionals are critical to this cause, so please join us and share our survey.