The June 3 Molton cartoon dismayed me because it helps to feed a skewed image of animal-rights activists as extremists who would yell at a person walking their dog on a leash and [accuse them of being] someone who tortured and killed dogs. Perhaps Molton would like to be chained up. So funny!
The chain laws should definitely be changed — not just in Asheville, but in Buncombe County and indeed the state. It is all too prevalent in WNC to see dogs treated as objects — permanently tied for life, often utterly ignored, left in dark areas that see no sun, or in full sun where their only escape is a roasting dog house. Their areas are often not kept clean from feces and resultant parasites. The owners walk by as if the dogs do not exist, while the dogs wag their tails. I see dogs lie like the living dead day after day, or bark incessantly out of boredom or misery. They wear their area into bare dirt that turns into a mud hole when it rains. I have seen dogs tied where most of their area was a steep bank. I've also seen a dog with a logging-sized chain attached to its neck, dragging that around while it lives permanently on pavement. Yet, if the animal has a food bowl, water and shelter and 15 feet of chain, this is all perfectly legal!
Organizations such as Chain Free Asheville and Dogs Deserve Better are working hard to educate people about this issue. Dogs are intelligent social creatures, not property! Other towns have laws that allow people to chain dogs for only so many hours per day, and that otherwise improve the conditions dogs are kept in. Asheville City Council is looking at this too much as black and white — chained dogs versus dogs running loose. There can be options in place, such as financial aid for fencing, that can be provided from privately if city or county budgets are short. But the bottom line is: If people can't afford to provide humane conditions and care for their pets, then they should not have them! If they don't have time to train their pets or give them one-on-one attention daily, then they do not deserve to keep them! Education is the key here.
If dogs are trainable, then these people who put dogs on permanent chains can learn, too! If they simply don't care, then they do not deserve to have animals as pets.
— Troy Amastar