Wednesday, January 18, 2006

PETA has declared January to be "Unchain a dog" month

I wrote an email to PETA a few days ago. It read:

Subject: Hypocrisy within the PETA organization

I receive the "PETA Weekly E-News" emails that go out to - I'm sure tens of thousands of subscribers around the world. And I am like thousands of other people who receive that newsletter - an animal lover who belongs to animal welfare niche organizations.

PETA's mandate seems to try and cover a lot of bases - but there seems to be several glaring places where hypocrisy shines out bright and clear. My email tonight is pointing out one spot that I am trying to rationalize in my mind in order to continue to have intelligent conversation when anyone brings up the topic of the organization "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" and the ending of chaining and tethering of dogs.

The issue has come to a head for me because today when I read the newsletter - the Friday January 13th, 2006 edition - one of the catalog items - one of the items that you'd like me to click on and buy - the link is:\&int=weekly_enews - is for a t-shirt with the text that reads "Friends don't chain
friends" - with a burly cowboy sporting a t-shirt.

By the same token - you have a department that SUPPLIES dog houses - which is linked at
- so you are enabling the chaining of dogs. Not only the current dog that the dog house is being provided for - but any future dog that may be owned that comes into the house of the human chainer in the future.

So I'm hoping that you can give me some clarity on this issue - if you can help me with the dichotomy - as a Humane Organization - how can you generate money from both sides of the issue - from supplying the means to chain the dog - and also advertising that you are a person who doesn't chain dogs. It's a conundrum.

Sincerely, Joan Sinden

When I sent the email I copied it to my local rescue group and to my anti-chaining group that I belong to - Dogs Deserve Better. Dogs Deserve Better is about the ONLY anti chaining organization that is AGAINST supplying dog houses as a philosophical idea. The money that goes into supplying dog houses for people unwilling to bring their companion animals inside could be better spent in SO MANY other ways.

Tammy Grimes, the founder of Dogs Deserve Better, put out a fabulous press release when PETA started advertising this program at Christmas 2005 - it read:

Dogs Deserve Better is asking Peta to STOP Building Doghouses and asks Animal Lovers to Sponsor a Fence instead!

Peta's Campaign Entitled "Sponsor Shelter for a Needy Dog" sounds innocent enough, but will damage both Peta's and Dogs Deserve Better's campaigns to stop chaining of dogs.

This program enables the chainer to continue the chaining lifestyle, apparently now with the blessings of Peta. It also enables them to chain not only this dog but all future dogs to their 'new doghouse'. Lastly, Peta, by providing this house, could be keeping children in danger, as the dog remains unsocialized and angry despite his new
doghouse, still able to reach any child wandering into his territory. See for photos of a child lucky enough to survive such an attack.

On their site page, Peta states they have built and delivered 571 doghouses "IN POOR COMMUNITIES NEAR THEIR NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS." 571 new doghouses handed out in what is likely a three-four county area near Norfolk Virginia and nearby North Carolina.

How much education would that have paid for?

Given their estimated cost per doghouse of $205, they spent $117,055 building doghouses last year. At a conservative estimate of $500 per billboard, that would have paid for 234 educational billboards for that three-four county area in ONE year. This would have literally saturated the area with education, and the repeated message would have convinced more than 571 people to never chain their dog again. That would have been $117,055 well spent.

How much spay/neuter would that have paid for?

Once again, given the estimated $117,055, at a clinic cost of $50 each, they could have spay/neutered 2341 dogs in a three-four county area. In one year, who would be left to chain?

How much fencing would that have paid for?

Dogs Deserve Better provides fencing at $150.00 per fence, getting dogs off chains and keeping children safer. This same amount would have fenced 780 yards, allowing even multiple dog families to be together and no longer isolated.

Or, let's get Peta Creative.

What if this same amount of money, $117,055, was spent on a HUGE party with naked women and all the booze they could drink! The only cost of admission to chainers for this splendid event would be a signed agreement to take their dog off chains and to never chain again. A safe guesstimate would be that this party alone would release at least 1000 dogs from chains and save 1000s of future dogs from chains.

So far this year, at least 250 doghouses have been sponsored since their e-mail went out, by kind people who only think they're helping.

That's $51,250 dollars, buying 102.50 educational billboards, 1025 spay/neuters, or 341 fences.

Dogs Deserve Better provides fencing help at $150.00 worth of welded wire fencing from Lowe's or Home Depot for anyone agreeing to bring their dog into the home to live. If there is more than one dog, the fencing is provided even if the dogs aren't brought into the home to live, so they can at least play together, live together, and sleep as a pack at night. Doesn't that sound like a better way to spend your
money? This money is available as fencing help for any dog nationwide and in Canada as long as funds permit.

Please sponsor fencing and not doghouses; go to

We don't buy puppymillers new cages. We don't buy pig farmers new gestation crates. We don't buy puppies from pet stores. And we don't supply dog chainers with doghouses. Write Peta today at and tell them NO MORE DOGHOUSES!

So when I copied my email to PETA to my local rescue group - I got a reply back today in which the person said that as "responsible pet guardian" she has a dog house in her backyard for her dogs and she plans on "putting more dog houses" in her back yard for her other dogs - and it doesn't mean that she chains her dogs to them - it just means that she provides shelter for her dogs in her back yard. She also said that almost all responsible pet guardians WOULD have dog houses in their back yard. When I read that - I was like - "are you kidding me?" So at the risk of getting kicked off my list - once again, because I am such a troll - I wrote the following:

I'm afraid I have to disagree with your comments - I think that such a small minority of responsible dog owners have dog houses in their back yards with no associated chain on them that the percentage associated with them is absolutely negligible - so much so that it makes them null and void in the world in chained dogs versus non-chained dogs and dog houses.

And I can most certainly 100% guarantee you that that is NOT the demographic that PETA, or any ogranization - because Noah's Wish ALSO builds dog houses for people unwilling to stop chaining their dogs outside even when they won't provide shelter for them and are also unwilling to bring them inside or give them up to rescue - are going after. They are providing dog houses for people who are unwilling to treat their dogs like responsible pet "guardians" as you call them do - like members of their family - who actually live under the same roof as themselves - and in order to keep them attached to that house they have to be chained to it the majority of the time.

The demographic of the responsible pet owner would understand that the abandoned sentient living being living in the muck and sludge of the back yard should never have to live like that. That's why an organization like Dogs Deserve Better isn't only fighting to end the chaining and tethering of dogs - we're also fighting to shed a different light on the what we believe to be the tools of the torture
- the dog house itself - and what that means philosophically.

It could've have been made any more horrifically plainer than with Hurricane Katrina - how many hundreds, maybe even thousands of dogs died simply because they were chained to their dog houses and had no way of escaping when their "owners" abandoned them. If you want to see some visual proof of that you can go to a "blog" entry I wrote about it with some pictures at
- and then the ultimate irony of all that is that part of the great rebuilding of the Gulf Coast included building and giving out tons of free dog houses to hurricane victims who had lost their homes. How many dogs had just died because they'd drowned from being tied to dog houses?

I live on a moment to moment basis with the effects of having a dog chained outside and how horrible it is for the dog - one of my dogs is a former chained dog - and she is not a normal dog by any stretch of the imagination. I've had several dogs come through my home that were former chained dogs and they were not normal dogs either. Solitary confinement staring at a back door waiting for someone to come out and rescue you - year after year, does something to an animal who is meant to live in a pack. And a dog house - for better or worse is a symbol of that torture. Just as a swastika is a symbol of nazi evil, and the "n" word is a symbol of white oppression - I think and hope - that the dog house will become an anachronistic symbol of a misunderstood need.

Instead of cluttering up your backyard with more dog-houses this summer - why don't you install a doggy-door so your dogs can come and go into and out of the big house as they wish since you're lucky enough to have a fully enclosed back yard? That would make more sense to me, and be cheaper - and you could put something else in the spots that you were going to put the dog houses in.

A dog house just isn't a dog house - 99% of the time if there's a dog house, there's some animal tied to it who's suffering - and NOT some responsible "pet guardian" waiting to see if that animal if finished peeing and wants to come in. That is the unfortunate reality. And to say anything different is absolute blather.


I do have to sheepishly admit here, and anyone who is a regular reader of this blog will know that - I LOVE ending posts with sentences with statements like - any opinions other than mine can be nothing but absolute blather. I love that. That's the beauty of one way conversations, isn't it? One more reason why I love the internet.

But anyway - I think there needs to be a change in the way we think about the idea of the dog house. It should not be associated with Mom and Dad and apple pie and picket fences and hanging out in the back yard and Snoopy and Charlie Brown. It is an implement of torture for tens of 1,000's of dogs around the world. If you find a family that has a dog in their yard that hasn't given it shelter and is also unwilling to bring it inside for whatever reason - don't give it a dog house - take the dog away - there's no reason for the dog to be there in the first place. End of story. Period. This is the 21st century we're living in - not the 19th century. We now realize that dogs really are just like us and don't enjoy being abandoned for whatever reason.

Category: [Chained dogs]

Category: [Rescue]

Category: [Letters to the Editor]


  1. Wow, full stomach thinking at it's finest right here.

    All this time, money and effort for dogs...dogs on chains...doghouseless dogs...who gives a shit?

    There seems to be alot bigger problems in the world than dogs that are chained or without a dog house. Get the dumb our of your ass and try to do know...that means something.


    BTW, your dog's ugly.

  2. Anonymous12:59 PM

    I've contacted humane organizations in the past, on this issue. Many provide spec's for building a "safe doghouse". The idea of a "safe" or "ethical" dog house really puts the "moron" in "oxymoron".

    Dogs are pack animals. Period. Every single time you leave your dog alone (no matter how accustomed one's dog may be to being left alone) it is unnatural and stressful for your dog.

    Of course, people have no choice but to leave their dogs at home, alone, when they have to go out to places that don't permit or welcome dogs, or where it would simply be inappropriate or unsafe to take a dog.

    Ensuring our dogs are properly socialized, and learn nothing bad happens (and we return), makes being alone that much less stressful. But stressful (and unnatural), it remains.

    Responsible dog owners do everything they can to minimize the amount of time their dogs are alone.

    Having more than one dog is also a solution, provided the dogs can be in direct physical contact. (Caged dogs almost always display anxious behaviour, and develop aberrant - and sometimes aggressive - behaviour if regularly caged for long periods, alone.)

    For all sorts of practical and ethical reasons, we expect dog owners to supervise their dogs at all times outside the home and with children.

    Doghouses only encourage people to keep their dogs unethically and irresponsibly.

  3. Anonymous5:15 PM

    Hi Joan, Marc and Mitzi here. Peta is a corrupt, quasi-terrorist organization that feeds itself on the idealism of its members and patrons. They are not what they misrepresent their true intentions in the press and are definately not an organization that any dog lover should have anything to do with.

    Penn and Teller also did an expose piece on PETA in their program "Bullshit". Excellent stuff. Peta and all its members need a good pummeling.