Local News

Animal-Rights Group Wants to Halt Dog-Chaining

Posted January 29, 2007
Updated June 4, 2008

— Mopsy and Bessie are 79-year-old Dietrich von Haugwitz's companions. Mopsy has been around for years, but Bessie joined her only a few weeks ago.

“The dog has taken to me and now loves me dearly as if she's been with me for years and years,” von Haugwitz said.

That might come as no surprise at all, considering what Bessie has been through.

"Bessie was not being taken care of. She was being fed every few days at best,” von Haugwitz said,

Bessie lived on a chain no more than 6 feet long. Her owner, an elderly woman with dementia, reportedly neglected the dog.

Animal advocates fought to have Bessie removed from her former home. Now they are fighting for other animals. The group known as the Coalition to Unchain Dogs is working to restrict or ban the chaining of dogs in Durham and Orange counties.

"Dogs are social animals,” said spokesperson Amanda Arrington. “They need interaction."

The group also says dogs on chains are more aggressive.

"The Center for Disease Control says that chain dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite than non-chained,” Arrington said.

Von Haugwitz said Bessie was a bit aggressive at first. But with a little love, all that has changed.

“Given that suffering that the dog endured, it is remarkable that the dog's character and personality wasn't permanently ruined, and that she is so quickly taking to this new life of love and tenderness,” Von Haugwitz said.

Group leaders claimed a minor victory after the Durham County Animal Control Advisory Committee recently voted to make a recommendation to the county commission in favor of a law that would restrict chaining up dogs. Orange County leaders are still in the process of forming a committee to look at the issue.


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  • chainsoff Jan 31, 2007

    BSZOM, I would like to address this issue :
    "The ban is potentially classist because it penalizes people who might not be able to afford a fence (they're
    not cheap) or who live in a rental unit without a fenced yard. I have a problem with that.
    I would really like a banning advocate to address this issue.

    If you live in an area where fencing is not permitted and you must own a dog, why can't you take the dog for walks to eliminate ? If you simply can't afford a fence, why not walk the dog for exercise and elimination ? It's good for both of you.
    Too many people live in situations where they can't offer a dog all that the dog needs to thrive and yet because they have the right to, they get one anyway. I would like a human rights advocate to address this lack of reasoning.
    Many communities are not banning chaining but putting a time limit, such as 3 hours per day, in case you don't have time to walk them, you can put them out to do their business and not be penalized.

  • kma1005 Jan 31, 2007

    Dogs should be treated as you would treat any child. You discipline them properly and treat them kindly and they will turn out to be good adults. Dogs just like children that are beaten will eventually strike out, and be aggressive as they were shown in their early years. Putting a dog in a fenced in area is the only proper way to let them stay out doors, just like you don't let your kid run wild inside the house, you put up a gate to protect him from falling down the stairs. If you are willing to put a dog on a chain then I urge you to do the same to your child and see what happens. They will be aggressive. I'm not saying that a responsible chain user is doing wrong towards their dog, but most dogs just like most children don't know their limits when they are tugging at the chain and choking themselves to the point of hacking/gagging its just like a child pulling away to go play in the street. Discipline, kindness and love are what ALL animals need.

  • Pack Rules Jan 30, 2007

    I wish I was my dog. Man, he's got it made. When I get home from work I always ask him how his day was. He answers me back with, "Well, we woke up, you let me out....Then back in....You left for work and I took a nap. I woke up from my nap when you got home from work. Alex is the best!!!! A puppy is not just for Christmas. There are pet owner's and then there are responsible pet owner's. Dogs need a lot of love and attention.

  • Smorgas_Of_Borg Jan 30, 2007

    "Animal RIGHTS". Gimme a break. Animals (pets) deserve good treatment. Wild animals deserve our protection. When those who claim that that animals have 'rights' get on their (isn't this a wonderful phrase?) High Horse, they elevate animals to the level of humans. Noting who is supporting this 'initiative' for animal 'rights', I wonder if this group supports those who adopted animals from shelters, put them in their Death Van, killed them, then dumped the bodies of the dead animals in dumpsters behind grocery stores. I think they call themselves "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" (aka: PETA)

  • PDMARTIN Jan 30, 2007

    JWATSON are you a pet owner? And if so, do you chain your dog?
    I chained my dog at one time, but never again. It made him nervous and skittish. Remember there are people who don't need to own animals (of any kind). I don't see this as harmful. Having a pet of any kind is not cheap and I want my investment and my best friend to be safe. Not everyone can afford a fence but pet ownership isn't cheap either.

  • kaecee Jan 30, 2007

    I agree that animals should have rights, but I feel the owner would know the animal better than society does. The same way people love their kids, they love their dogs. However, letting a dog roam free could cause more trouble such as the owner incurring the cost of repairing a vehicle if the dog runs out in front of a vehicle, biting an individual, or wandering and destroying another individual property. I feel that people keep their dogs on chains for a reason and if people can't have a chain some individuals would not keep their dog.. then the protest will be against the dog pounds and animal shelters about putting the overflow of dogs to their final resting state.

  • bszom Jan 30, 2007

    I am an avid dog lover and have, in fact, rescued and found new homes for dogs that were left on chains 24/7. I agree that dogs are social, need interaction, etc. However, banning all chaining seems extreme. I think that some people use chaining responsibly, such as one of the contributors to these comments, whose son uses chaining when he comes to visit. There are people who tie their dogs up for short periods of time because they don't have a fence, but otherwise are loving,caring animal owners. The ban is potentially classist because it penalizes people who might not be able to afford a fence (they're not cheap) or who live in a rental unit without a fenced yard. I have a problem with that. I would really like a banning advocate to address this issue.

  • babypoohbear22 Jan 30, 2007

    I think people should have to apply for a permit before they are allowed to buy or adopt an animal into their home. There are way too many animals out there being mistreated, neglected and abused but people who "think" they are doing right.

  • Why oh Why Jan 30, 2007

    I would love to get info on how I can be a part of the animal rights group. If anyone knows please let me know.

  • Why oh Why Jan 30, 2007

    I love my two dogs and I think anyone who has a dog or more should never chain them. Would you chain your child because my pets are my children because my children are grown and gone and if it was nto for me babies to hug and love I would bw so lonely and besides that they take care of me as well. I have two dogs over 75 lbs. each and believe me they are well loved and have never even seen a chain.