By Jodi L. Hartley


Every 40 seconds someone in the United States is bitten by a dog, and 17 percent of those bites are from dogs who have been chained or tethered. Tying a dog outside is not only inhumane and cruel to the dog, it also makes for a dangerous situation for the community.
Tethering Dogs Is Inhumane

A dog is a pack animal with a need for socialization and attention. Besides the basics of food, water and shelter, a dog needs a family to provide love and affection. Once a dog is banished outside on a tether, it is easy for his owners to forget about him. The longer he is tethered outside, the less social and behaved he becomes.

It is extremely dangerous for a dog to be stuck in one place without the ability to get away. Tethered dogs often are victims of abuse from children and mean-spirited adults and can easily be attacked by other animals. They also can be stung by insects, and if not given proper veterinary care and preventive medicine, ravaged by fleas, ticks and heartworms. If a shelter is provided, it often is not sufficient protection from the sun, cold, rain or snow. Chained dogs are easy targets for thieves who sell the dog off for animal testing or subject them to the cruelty of dog fighting.
Chains and tie-outs often get stuck or tangled around objects giving the dog even less room to get around. This may keep him from reaching his water dish, and he can even choke to death. Collars on dogs tied out for long periods of time often become embedded or cause open sores in the dog’s neck as they tug day after day to get free.
Tethering Dogs is Dangerous

A dog who is chained usually becomes territorial over his space, and when approached, even by someone who is familiar to him, he may attack. Dogs have a natural “fight or flight” instinct, and if “flight” isn’t an option, he will fight to protect himself. Unfortunately children are often victims since they tend to be curious and want to touch the dog.
If a dog who has been tethered for a long time does finally break free, he can be dangerous to any person, pet or animal that comes near him. Dogs become so frustrated by the lack of exercise, stimulation and attention that they can become aggressive.
Part II of Breaking the Chain discusses what you can do to help dogs who are the victims of chaining and tethering.
The Humane Society of the United States: The Facts About Chaining and Tethering
Off the Chain: Chaining Dogs Unleashes Bad Behavior

Jodi L. Hartley has been a writer and public relations professional since 1992. Her experience includes public relations and marketing for Club Canine, as well as volunteer work with animal rescue organizations. Hartley holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an M.B.A.