Chaining Dogs


From the Spartanburg, South Carolina Herald Journal: ³When Crystal Sinclair looked out to check on her 2-year-old daughter Thursday morning, all she saw was a toy. She went to her next-door neighbor, Patricia Hancock, to ask for help. Soon, she and Hancock came upon the body of Makayla Paige Sinclair where EIGHT of Hancock's nine Great Danes were kept CHAINED TO A TREE. . . . Hancock called 911 at 10:05 a.m., and when EMS arrived, Makayla was dead.²

Dogs Deserve Better, an organization working to get dogs off chains and into the family, insists that itıs time American woke up to the dangers of chaining a dog.

Karen Delise, author of Fatal Dog Attacks, has researched and chronicled the circumstances surrounding every fatal dog attack in the United States since 1955. ³Chained dogs have killed at least 98 people. Of the 98 people, 92 were children that either wandered into reach or attempted to play, tease, feed, or untangle a chained, tied or similarly restrained dog.² She also states in her book: ³Statistically, chained dogs are more dangerous than free-running packs of dogs.²

America needs nationwide laws prohibiting the chaining of dogs to the nearest tree, post, or doghouse. Says Tammy Sneath Grimes, founder of Dogs Deserve Better, ³How many children have to die before people realize this is a serious and nationwide problem? The chaining of dogs has been ongoing generation after generation, and this outdated and irresponsible method of guardianship must stop. Not only is it dangerous for the dog, but itıs dangerous for anyone unlucky enough to wander into the sphere created by an angry dogıs chain.²

Chained dogs are often unsocialized, in physical distress, and territorial. Dogs are pack animals, and humans have become their pack. To ostracize them from that pack is not only cruel, but creates a danger to society.

Connecticut is the first state in the nation to have any state-wide laws limiting chaining. Julie Lewin, instrumental in the Connecticut law, is founder of The National Institute for Animal Advocacy, and is now conducting training all around the country to mobilize citizens to change chaining laws as well as other outmoded laws.

Grimes continues, ³Itıs a shame that we need laws to dictate common sense. If youıre going to bring a dog into your life, youıve got to be willing to take responsibility for itıs care and well-being. Allowing a dog to run free around the neighborhood or chaining it to the nearest tree are both irresponsible behaviors, and can and do end in death for the dog or, as in all too many cases, a small child. A responsible caretaker's dog lives inside, and has a fence high and sound enough to protect both the dog and children passing by or walks the dog on a leash for the safety of all. We are attempting to educate society, one by one if necessary. But we must also stand NOW to insist on the laws being changed to protect the innocent, both humans and dogs. Itıs too crucial to NOT do so. The lost life of Makayla Sinclair stands as further proof.²

To contact Dogs Deserve Better go to their website at, and to contact Julie Lewin at NIFAA in Connecticut call 203-453-6590.

Tammy Sneath Grimes, Founder
Dogs Deserve Better: No Chains!
Make a Dog's Life Worth Living
P.O. Box 23, Tipton, PA 16684

"Only one state so far -- Connecticut -- bars long-term tethering of dogs... A tethering bill introduced in Hawaii in January remains in committee... In Florida, Palm Beech County commissioners last summer banned tying or chaining dogs outside from 10 am to 5 pm, the hottest part of the day. And in Wichita, Kansas, owners can legally tie dogs outdoors for just one hour three times a day...

"Tethered dogs may suffer psychological problems resulting in aggression, including higher likelihood of biting..." ("Anti-tethering Unleashed." Dog Fancy, July 2004: 15).

"The Big Spring, Texas, City Council voted 6-0 in favor of a ban on the chaining and tethering of dogs within the city limits Tuesday, July 27, 2004...

"Albuquerque, New Mexico is another recent example that is looking really good for further limits...

"Most people are not aware that other places are more advanced, more progressive" (Dogs Deserve Better, Aug. 2004: 1).

Colby Glass, MLIS