Recently my sister and her loyal sidekick, Apache visited for Thanksgiving and as always expected a friendly homecoming. This time it was anything but friendly. 

Unfortunately, Apache was attacked by the neighbor’s chained dog and received 15 stitches to his right ear and my sister received a generous emergency surgery bill totaling over $1000. 

This dog was chained for its entire life, perhaps an otherwise friendly and docile dog, but kept continuously chained and intensively confined became neurotic, unhappy, anxious and aggressive on this particular day.

Virtually every dog who spends a significant amount of time tethered will suffer some temperament problems. Is it a fact that dogs, just like human beings who get locked up for no reason, will get mean and bitter? 

The short answer, according to renowned animal behavior specialist Shelby Marlo, is that “dogs who are forced to live their lives at the end of a chain suffer from severe psychological, emotional, and behavioral effects. Humans must remember, dogs are highly social animals. In the wild, dogs ran around with each other as members of a “pack.” 

Over a period of many years, dogs were gradually domesticated and came to rely on humans not only for their care but also for companionship. Humans became dogs’ “pack members.” Because domesticated dogs no longer have packs of other dogs to live with, they need to be members of our families. Other animals are in great danger even if they do not enter the area of a chained dog. 

Rarely does a chained or tethered dog receive sufficient care. Their necks can become infected from too-tight collars. Chains get tangled, strangling the dogs. Tethered dogs suffer from sporadic feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate veterinary care, and extreme temperatures. During extreme cold storms, these dogs often have no access to shelter. During periods of extreme heat, they may not receive adequate water or protection from the sun.  

What’s more, because their often neurotic behavior makes them difficult to approach, chained dogs are rarely given even minimal affection. Tethered dogs may become “part of the scenery” and can be easily ignored by their owners.  

Their sleeping areas are often uncomfortable because they must eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate in a single confined area. Owners who chain their dogs are also less likely to clean the area. 

Although there may have once been grass in an area of confinement, it is usually so beaten down by the dog’s pacing that the ground consists of nothing but dirt or mud. 

The humane bottom line is this: dogs should be kept indoors, taken on regular walks, and otherwise provided with adequate attention, food, water, and veterinary care. If an animal must be outside at certain times, he should be supervised, placed in a suitable area with adequate square footage and shelter from the elements.  

Chaining or tethering must be completely outlawed. It is an owner’s responsibility to properly restrain their dog, just as it is the owner’s responsibility to provide adequate attention and socialization. Placing an animal on a restraint to get fresh air can be acceptable if it is done for a short period. 

However, keeping an animal tethered for long periods is never acceptable. It is right out cruel and inhumane. In the end, the helpless dog can only suffer the frustration of watching the world go by in isolation—a cruel fate for what is by nature a highly social animal. Any city, county, or state that bans this practice is a safer, more humane community.

If you are an eyewitness to animals that are constantly being exposed to weather conditions (heat, cold, rain, etc.) on balconies, roof terraces, yards, fields, etc., with no proper, dry and comfortable housing, animals that are constantly chained, that receive improper or no food and/or water, that are not vaccinated and/or de-wormed on a regular basis, who lack veterinary care, daily exercise, and daily walks, immediately call the police or your local animal control office or contact me at

This article is dedicated to Apache.


Destra A. Moses is an animal rights advocate who resides in Holmes County. 

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