The tragic attack on a 7-year-old boy in Jackson County brings a chance to underscore other factors that may create danger to children. Tethering dogs is not only an infliction of pain and suffering to the animal, but it also endangers other animals and humans as well.
Chained dogs are more likely than their free-roaming friends to be the victims of disease and injury. They are frequently given inadequate housing, food and water to withstand the changes in weather. They are unable to escape attacks by other dogs or wild animals. They are bitten by rodents and insects, and they can become—understandably—aggressive.
Dogs are social animals, and when they are deprived of the right to interact with their humans and other people and animals, they become frustrated. This leads to unmanageable and unexpected aggression in many of these animals, and dogs who are otherwise happy and calm family members can be instantly provoked to attack. The U.S. Humane Society, the Centers for Disease Control, and the American Veterinary Medical Society all warn that tying a dog can lead to aggressive and often tragic results.
The idea that dogs are property to be handled any way an owner chooses is barbaric and outdated. These are the animals we count on to be our best friends, our companions in disability and our unconditional protectors. The time has come for us to outlaw chaining. We cannot afford to harm our pets or endanger our children any longer.
To help in this cause, please join Chain Free Asheville, an organization devoted to freeing our dogs from tethering, and building appropriate housing and fencing (www.chainfreeasheville.org). The moral stance of our community can, indeed, as Gandhi said, be measured by how we treat our animals.
— Marlisa Mills