Local News

Animal-Rights Group Wants to Halt Dog-Chaining

Posted January 29, 2007 9:56 p.m. EST
Updated June 4, 2008 6:29 a.m. EDT

— 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.