Dogs Deserve Better Chain Off

108 People in 36 states live chained to doghouses to seek freedom for and to educate about the dangers of chaining a dog

12 days later, chained rottweiler kills Atlanta 5-year-old girl near
the site where 15 people had recently stood against the practice

Tipton, PA  – Dogs Deserve Better, a national nonprofit working to end the suffering endured by dogs kept chained or penned for life, announced today that at least 108 people in 36 states and Canada lived chained to doghouses as part of the organization’s Chain Off 2007 event, entitled “Unchain the 50.” The event was the groups most successful ever, garnering news, tv, and blog attention nationwide and across the world.

The campaign, criticized as ‘not important, foolish’ by some website commentors, turned deadly serious only 12 days later, when 5-year-old Tiffany Pauley lost her life to a chained rottweiler in Atlanta, site of the largest Chain Off. 15 people lived chained to doghouses in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park for up to 30 hours June 30-July 1 in order to bring awareness to the plight of chained dogs, and educate about the resulting damage they can do to children.

Tiffany, a child with Down’s Syndrome, had wondered off from her home earlier that morning. She was found hours later lying dead under a tree near the rottweiler. Three chained dogs were removed from the home, and two penned dogs remain on the property.

Tammy Grimes, founder of the organization, expressed the group’s frustration with America’s failure to understand the nature of a dog. “Not only are we chaining ourselves to doghouses to advocate for the dogs, but to advocate for innocent children such as Tiffany who may wonder into their path. As I read the articles about Tiffany, I was enveloped with a staggering sadness at a loss which could be so easily preventable, if only America would understand the dangers in chaining a large breed dog; if only Americans were forced to take responsibility for their ‘family pets’.

These dogs, unsocialized, unneutered, unhappy, become the equivalent of a loaded weapon in a neighborhood backyard. I am most disturbed by the following quote from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article following Tiffany’s death: ‘Turner’s mother, Patricia Cook, said her son always kept the dogs chained and cared for them. “Nothing wrong happened here,” Cook said.’

Nothing wrong happened here? A child just lost her life; I am totally floored that anyone would say “Nothing wrong happened here”…that Ms. Cook has no idea of the irresponsibility inherent in leaving a rottweiler, a shepherd, and a pit mix chained in the backyard, where any child can easily gain access to them. Lawmakers MUST wake up to the dangers inherent in chaining a dog, as it becomes more and more apparent that people who chain their dogs will not.

Yards must be fenced for both the protection of the dog and the protection of our nation’s youth. When we mistreat our animals, the human race pays the price in the end. Chaining of dogs, regardless of breed, is an archaic and dangerous practice that must end! We, along with our growing list of supporters and allies, will not stop until it does.

Our ‘Unchain the 50’ Campaign was an unqualified success. We should be celebrating, yet Tiffany’s death brings us back to reality, back to realizing that our work is not done. I want to thank all of you who stood with us across our great nation. Continue to stand, so that Tiffany’s death is not in vain. So that one day America has a better understanding of a dog’s needs, and our neighborhoods once again become safer places for both dogs and children.”

Last year, California became the first state in the country to pass a statewide law specifically limiting the amount of time a dog may be tethered to a stationary object. In June Texas passed a bill setting tighter restrictions on chaining. Anti-tethering bills are still alive in in North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Over 100 local governments across the United States have passed legislation in recent years that either bans or limits how long a dog may be chained, recognizing that existing animal welfare laws are outdated and that dogs are intelligent, social, active animals that suffer greatly if kept chained or penned for their lives.

To read the wrapup of the Unchain the 50 campaign, go to 2007 Chain Off

To read founder Tammy Grimes ‘Diary of a Woman (and Friends) Chained 3″, click HERE

Dogs Deserve Better is a 501c3 nonprofit organization headquartered in Tipton, Pennsylvania, is the 2003 First Place Winner of the ASPCA Pet Protector Award, and currently has over 150 area reps in 38 states as well as in Canada and France.

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