On unchaining kind hearts …..

from the CBC news website
SPCA wants new chain rules

CBC News Posted: Dec 5, 2011 7:44 AM AT Last Updated: Dec 5, 2011 7:43 AM The Nova Scotia SPCA is calling on municipalities to protect pets from being tied up outside too long.

The SPCA says chains should be at least five metres long. (AP/Laramie Boomerang)

The animal-protection group says of the nearly 1,500 complaints it received this year, 238 relate to tethered dogs having no access to food, water or shelter.
Kristin Williams, the group’s executive director, said current municipal bylaws don’t go far enough to protect pets.
“Section 21 of the provincial Animal Protection Act states, ‘No person shall cause an animal to be in distress,'” she said. “An act tells you what is wrong, but regulations tell you how to avoid it.”
The SPCA says chains should be at least five metres long and far enough away from trees and bushes so they don’t get tangled.
The group says owners should also keep a close eye on pets when they’re outside.
Williams said the amount of time outside depends on the breed of the dog, its age and health.
“For instance, you might have a husky who is absolutely content to be out all day long in the winter time. But if you put a little terrier outside with a very short coat, that’s not going to be very reasonable for the winter,” she said.
Williams said dogs left outside for prolonged periods of time are more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviour, such as biting.
Well then … as with any online story … the comments are almost as telling as the tale!   One comment really highlights the biggest obstacle to anti tethering legislation :
Aunt Kate “Um a law requiring 5 meters ?   Noone is more distressed than I at dogs being left out for their whole lives or even hours at a time in all conditions.   However, my small terrier puppy, who sleeps with me and gets regular walks and has her own wardrobe of coats also gets put out for 10 or 15 minutes several times a day in the yard on a 3 meter line   She can dig under fences in seconds and we live on a busy road. Please dont tell me that is abuse!”
In other words … until the confusion is cleared up, public opposition to anti tethering will continue unchecked.    Well meaning kind hearts will worry that this will put paid to their little yard leashes at the back step for safe pee breaks.
Others will encourage this for their own reasons … others who view animals purely as property perceive anti tethering as an infringement on their personal gawd given right to treat a living breathing sentient being in any way that they see fit! 
I rather suspect that if “Aunt Kate” had been living next door to The Mighty Quinn in his horrible old life, she would have instantly understood that there was no conceivable comparison.    Indeed, her kind heart would very likely have prompted her to call the cruelty line herself.
What would she have been told?  After all, it took years of neglect to reduce Quinn to the state he was in when he was rescued.   ‘Aunt Kate’ would have been informed that there was nothing that could be done if there was food, water and some sort of cobbled up shelter when the inspector popped by.
In other words, ‘Aunt Kate’ would have been subjected to years of ‘distress‘ until Quinn finally was in dire enough straights to be seized for cruelty.
Why?   Would nobody understand that it is cruel and inhumane to leave a dog, who is principally a social pack animal …  chained or penned away from the social interaction he or she needs to be a safe member of the community?
Why are anti tethering specifics needed in the Animal Protection Act?  For the very same reason that more specific housing standards are needed!
Would anti tethering clauses initiate an inspection of every back yard in the province?   Of course not!    Police do not visit every household to determine if any women or children under the roof are being abused!   But the laws do allow them to respond more effectively when complaints are issued!
In this province, where cruelty investigators are working to fulfil a mandate without any funding, the process has to be complaint driven.   Anti tethering clauses would be of great benefit because:

  • chained dogs are out there for all the world to see.  When the society investigators cannot remove a dog after complaints from the neighbours, it undermines the credibility of the society
  • straight, sweet and simple it is as much a public safety measure that would protect the children in our communities
  • and of course, last but definitely not least, it would provide a better outcome for all the dogs who are not lucky enough to be loved by an ‘Aunt Kate’

What time is it?   It is never, ever too soon to create safer communities for our children!
And that is how I see it on Monday, December 5th …. the NINETEENTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

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