• Tori Lynn Crowther

January is National Unchain a Dog Month

January is “Unchain a Dog Month,” and PETA is encouraging people to allow their best friends inside, where they are safest and happiest. Cold weather means extra hardship for “backyard” dogs. Dogs suffer from frostbite, exposure, and dehydration when water sources freeze. Chained or penned dogs often have nowhere to go to escape the cold and snow.

It set aside to promote awareness of the plight of chained dogs. It’s easy to feel as if “one person” can’t make a difference, but that is so not true. In fact, most big movements start with just one person, and to one dog, it can make the world of difference.

All dogs need nutritious food, fresh water, and sturdy roofs over their heads. But what they really crave is love, attention, and companionship from their human families, their pack. Scratches behind the ears, games of fetch, and walks around the block mean the world to them. Curling up next to you is their idea of heaven.

Many of us have experienced the love, companionship, and joy of sharing our homes and our lives with a companion animal. Sadly, some people still do not realise or care that it is an utter act of cruelty to make a dog—a creature who innately craves social companionship—live out their existence alone, at the end of a chain. I have heard people say "but they are a guard dog!" What good is it having a dog tied up outside anyway? What are they guarding? Most dogs will guard their home, without the need for neglect and cruelty. Most breeds will bark if there is a stranger around....except maybe German Shepherds, I have never had a German Shepherd that routinely barks, most will roll over and let the stranger in, however Alice, my black crossbreed of tramp origin, will attack the unknown that comes through the door, however, most people do not believe this as she is the sweetest dog with people she knows. The practice of chaining up is not only inhumane but also poses a threat to the safety of the chained dog, other animals, and humans as well.

Feeling vulnerable and threatened on a daily basis, many chained dogs will lunge at anything that goes by them; pose a serious danger to small animals and children. Furthermore, the constant lunging often causes the dog’s collar to tear into the skin and can, in some cases, become embedded in the dog’s neck, requiring surgery to remove the collar. In some cases, the straining may cause injury or even death to the dog. Some dogs choke to death when they attempt to jump over fences and hang themselves. Chained dogs are caught in a vicious cycle. The longer they stay chained, the less likely they are to have human companionship, thereby making it more difficult to handle them. The more difficult they become, the less likely a human will want to engage with them. They are caught in a downward spiral, not of their own making.

If you know someone with an outside dog, offer to play with the dog and take them for walks. Bring safe treats and toys—they mean so much to a dog who has little else to do. Make sure that they have adequate food, water, and shelter—all of which are required by law—and report neglect to authorities. Your call could mean the difference between life and death for an animal left outside in the cold.

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