Dogs that spend their lives on chains often become neurotic, aggressive and pathologically protective of the patch of dirt where they spend their lives. Frustrated and unsocialized, chained dogs pose a year-round danger to unsuspecting children who approach these dogs. However, children are especially vulnerable as the weather warms, according to Mothers Against Dog Chaining, an initiative of non-profit Dogs Deserve Better. The groups are dedicated to ending the suffering endured by chained dogs and to educating the public about the dangers chained dogs pose to people.
Mothers Against Dog Chaining is working to raise awareness about the connection between perpetual chaining and aggressiveness during Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 18-24.
Since 2003, when the Mothers Against Dog Chaining began monitoring attacks nationwide that result in serious injury or death, it has traditionally seen an increase every spring when the warmer weather beckons more children outside and chained dogs can be especially frustrated after another lonely, agonizing winter.
In 2007, Mothers Against Dog Chaining logged 81 serious attacks on children by chained dogs. Thirty of these attacks — more than one-third of the entire year’s attacks — occurred in April and May alone.
Of the 81 attacks logged in 2007, 8 resulted in the death of a child. “Our records include only those attacks serious enough to make the newspapers, and include only those we are able to locate,” explains Tammy Grimes, founder of Mothers Against Dog Chaining and Dogs Deserve Better. “There are many more attacks that go unmentioned and unreported. And of course numerous adults also are seriously injured and killed every year by chained dogs.”
The fact pattern leading up to the death in July 2007 of Tiffany Pauley, a 5-year-old Atlanta girl with Down Syndrome, is typical of many of these attacks: a child wanders into a neighbor’s yard and wants to pet the chained dog, but the angry, perpetually chained animal attacks when it feels its space is threatened. The dog’s caretakers then claim that there was nothing they could have done, unaware that the very method of confinement to which they subjected their dog led directly to the animal’s aggression.
“Children are dying because of the misguided belief in certain segments of our society that it is appropriate to chain a dog to a tree and leave it there to pace the same patch of dirt and excrement for years on end,” says Miranda Riane, the mother of an 8-year-old boy who was seriously mauled by a chained dog in November 2007. “My son did nothing but run past a dog that spent its life on a short chain. He paid the price for the owner having taken the negligent and ‘easy way out’ with regard to caring for her dog.”
In part because of the public safety issues posed by perpetually chained dogs, a number of states, cities and counties have started passing laws addressing how long people can chain their dogs. California and Texas recently passed statewide laws that put specific time limits on chaining and a number of other states, including Pennsylvania and South Carolina, are currently considering similar legislation.
For more information and the latest updates on attacks, please visit – Mother’s Against Dog Chaining.
About Mothers Against Dog Chaining
Mothers Against Dog Chaining is an initiative of the non-profit Dogs Deserve Better, which works on numerous fronts to end the suffering endured by dogs that are kept chained and caged. Mothers Against Dog Chaining is led by DDB founder Tammy Grimes and Crystal Sinclair, mother of Makayla Sinclair who was killed by chained Great Danes in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in October of 2003.