Asheville has a reputation for being a progressive and pet-friendly town. There are an estimated 20,000 dogs living in the city—or about one dog for every three people.
However, there is one issue that continues to trouble many citizens: Hundreds of these dogs are chained day after day, hour after hour, with no respite and very little human interaction. A chained animal is caught in a vicious cycle, frustrated by long periods of boredom and social isolation. In the end, the helpless dog can only suffer the frustration of watching the world go by in isolation—a cruel fate for what is by nature a highly social animal.
Progressive cities across the country have passed laws that limit or completely abolish the chaining of dogs, including several municipalities in North Carolina. Rep. Susan Fisher of Buncombe County has recently sponsored a bill [H.B. 626] that would limit the time dogs can spend on chains in North Carolina.
ChainFree Asheville, a local nonprofit that works to remove dogs from chains and even builds fences for low-income individuals, has asked the city to ban chaining, and the hearing is taking place on Tuesday, April 28, at 5 p.m. City staff has recommended that the law remain as is, which allows chaining 24/7 as long as the chain is 15 feet long.
These are just a few of the reasons to disallow the chaining of dogs:
• Chained dogs can be a safety hazard—especially to our children. A chained dog feels insecure and often turns to aggression to protect its territory.
• Chained dogs create a public nuisance with their constant barking, and can bring down property values in their neighborhoods.
• Chained dogs may suffer physically from chains embedded in their necks or from becoming entangled and unable to reach food or water, and they suffer from neglect because they are social animals that need human interaction.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has stated, “Never tether or chain your dog, because this can contribute to aggressive behavior.” The Humane Society of the United States concluded that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane.
My hope is that the residents of the city become aware of this upcoming hearing and attend and voice their opinions. More information can be found at www.chainfreeasheville.org.
— Lyndajoy Storer