Great news for dogs in Miami-Dade County: Commissioners voted yesterday to make it “illegal to tie a dog to any standing object outside a home unless the dog’s owner is present” (Miami Herald).
There was a heated debate before the resolution passed 11-1, with some arguing the law discriminates against families who can’t afford to build fences.
“I resent the implication that says if you can’t afford it, or can’t
have a dog without tethering it, you shouldn’t have one at all,” said Commissioner Barbara Jordan, the
only one to vote against the measure.
I can see her point, kind of, but as a New York City apartment dweller, I have to point out that there’s a third option besides chaining and fencing in: Walking your dog.
I know it’s much easier to just let your dog out to run around the yard, but taking him out for a walk on the leash three or four times a day is no big deal when you get used to it. Plus it helps you bond and is good exercise for both dog and person.
Unfortunately, chaining is still standard practice in many parts of the country, and the organization Dogs Deserve Better has been fighting for years to make it illegal. Their Web site has a great section on what you can do to promote anti-chaining legislation, as well as a success stories section with some of the most dramatic before-and-after photos I’ve ever seen.
It’s also worth noting that Patrick McDonnell, creator of the comic strip Mutts, has been one of the most eloquent voices against chaining, via his Guard Dog character. Described on McDonnell’s Web site as “a chained dog in need of a little love,” Guard Dog’s obsession is “Wishing his owners would open their hearts”; his quote: “How do you guard against loneliness?”