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The End of the Chain?

More communities are opting for dog chaining laws, but old habits die hard

  • Owners who persistently chain their dogs often neglect them in other ways as well, such as failing to provide proper nutrition. MICHELLE RILEY/THE HSUS

When it comes to recognizing the dangers posed by persistent dog chaining, some people get it, and some don’t.

Making her rounds in the nation’s capital, officer Ann Russell of the Washington Humane Society (WHS) has encountered both types.

It’s a muggy Tuesday in August as Russell approaches the small backyard of a single-family home in southeast D.C. On a wooden deck off the home’s second story, she sees a dog tethered by a cable to the railing. The dog barks upon first spotting Russell, then pees nervously when the officer gets closer. The deck is littered with dog poop, and the dog’s water bowl has algae in it. Perhaps most alarmingly, the dog could slip off the deck and wind up hanging by her neck. (Each year, Russell says, about a half dozen chained dogs in D.C. strangle while tethered.) The home’s occupants are nowhere in sight.

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