Although five US states have already legislation aimed at banning the chaining of dogs outside — due to the cruelty of unnecessarily exposing them to all sorts of risks — the remaining 45 states still haven’t got any anti-tethering laws, and they should. There is now a public petition set up to change this.
Restraining dogs with chains or ropes outside for a long time may lead to many problems. The dogs cannot escape if fire, a tornado, an earthquake or any other catastrophe strikes. Or when other animals, wild or domestic, attack them. Tethering can also lead to dogs getting tangled up and stuck in their chains. Some animals are even chained so tightly that they cannot walk around, or they choke themselves trying to escape their bondage. And then we have the inclemency of the weather when it becomes too hot or too cold. Chained dogs dying from hypothermia is not uncommon, which is an obvious high risk in northern states.
In January 2022, Texas is enacting the “Safe Outdoor Dogs Act” with which dog guardians will no longer be allowed to leave a dog outside and unattended while restrained unless they give the dog access to adequate shelter, shade from direct sunlight, drinkable water, and proper protection from inclement weather. However, it allows many exceptions.
Of the 50 states, only Texas, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Louisiana have weather-specific language in their anti-tethering laws. Another 18 have specifications for how to tether or for how long (usually no more than 10 continuous hours) and California is the only state to be fully anti-tethering (since 2007 it is illegal to tether, fasten, chain, tie or restrain a dog to a doghouse, tree fence or any other stationary object for more than three hours in a 24-hour period). Of the states that have any laws about how to tether a dog, only a handful say a person could face anything more than a small fine for violating the law. This is not enough, and either the US should pass federal legislation correcting this problem, or each state should be urged to correct it themselves. You can help by signing this Care2 petition, which asks that every single state should make sure their animal abuse laws include anti-tethering statutes.