Anyone who has ever watched an episode of an animal rescue show knows the scenario by heart. After months of watching a poor creature get abused, starved, and neglected, a swarm of police and animal rescue officials show up to help. Sometimes, it isn't just one animal though, especially in cases of animal hoarding or puppy mills. So the emotional roller coaster of seeing all the suffering builds in intensity. Finally, at the end of the show, everyone breathes a big sigh of relief because the animals will all get the help they need. Unfortunately, most cases of animal abuse don't get put on television shows though because animal mistreatment has become so commonplace that it just gets ignored. One good example of this is the regular use of ropes, chains, and tethers for restraining dogs in a yard day and night. This inhumane practice has gone on for years even though it has devastating emotional and physical consequences. Luckily, some new laws have been enacted that can help.
What Happens When Dogs Get Left On a Chain for Too Long?
Many pet owners don't realize that the main cause of their dog's behavior problems is that they are left on a chain day and night with no socialization or attention. Since they can only move a few feet in each direction, they get very territorial about their small space. This makes them start to lunge and bark at passersby. They also become more aggressive from the stress that the situation causes them. After all, it isn't easy to be stuck outside in the rain, snow, and intense heat of the sun. Over time, their physical condition will diminish too. Many dogs will experience back, neck, and leg injuries from trying to pull the chain off of them. Their hair will fall out in patches, and they will lose weight and muscle mass because they aren't able to move freely. And many of them may even die because they can't reach their water or food dishes or escape from the attacks of other animals that might get in the yard.
How Are Laws Protecting Animals?
Many states have finally enacted laws that are protecting dogs from this cruel practice. Some places have city ordinances too. Each one is different though, so it is important that all dog owners contact their local authorities to find out more information about the laws that could affect them. Most of the laws state that a dog can be restrained on a chain for no more than a couple of hours while the owner is completing a task. If they are left for any longer than this, they will be given a verbal notice by the police to remedy the situation. Those who choose to ignore the warning may receive a third class misdemeanor charge. If the police are called for a second offense, then the charge will be upgraded to a first or second class misdemeanor. However, there are places that will charge a dog owner with a felony if they feel that the treatment that the dog is receiving is a case of animal abuse.
How Can We Help Protect Dogs From This Practice?
In order to protect dogs from being injured or attacked because they are left on a leash all the time, it is important to contact the local police or animal rescue organizations, such as the Humane Society, for help right away. Never wait because the longer that a dog is left in this situation, the worse their physical and emotional health will become. And remember, be sure to let the officials who respond to the call know how frequently the dog is being left on the leash and whether or not it receives adequate food, water, and shelter from bad weather.
Choosing to take action will help at least one animal have a better life - and that makes all the difference.