There was an article this week in the Newfoundland Beacon about how the president of the Gander and area SPCA said that the proposed new Animal and Health Protection Act for Newfoundland is a "step in the right direction" - but that it leaves a few things out that her organization is lobbying for - and one of those is about the chaining of dogs - which I think is fabulous.
They've been organizing for months I've noticed on their different SPCA chapter websites with a petition about chaining - and I think it's because in the new proposed Act it's going to state "Section 32 (1) states, "An owner of a dog shall keep it safely tethered or penned up at all times." - which is really quite ludicrous.
The president, Betty Suley said - "dogs chained on 24 hours, seven days a week...
is inhumane.... and there was nothing in there dealing with that."
They currently have over 8,000 signatures - but what caught my eye in the article is where Ms. Suley says -
"What we were hoping for was something like the legislation that Nova Scotia currently has in place," said Ms. Suley, noting Nova Scotia's legislation states, an owner can not tether without providing adequate shelter, source of food and water, space and opportunity for exercise."
I really feel like emailing her and telling her that our legislation isn't all that fabulous either - people don't have to follow the law, and dogs still die here too - just like the mastiff down in Cape Breton earlier this year who froze to death on the end of his chain.
The only real answer is what she is seeking for herself in Newfoundland and what we should be looking for in Nova Scotia as well - a limit on the times that people can chain their dogs - and an end to the ability to chain your dog out 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That is an abuse that has got to be stopped if we're ever going to save those dogs' lives.
We'll also save dogs lives from being bludgeoned to death by small children - if you remember another recent story from Newfoundland - the story of the 8 year old child who killed a dog - which was a pomeranian - with a barbecue fork - that little dog had been left tied out while his owners went shopping - another case of an unsupervised dog with an unsupervised child - only this time in reverse - and this time the dog died a horrible violent, and completely preventable - death.
What is going to happen to this child as he ages? Is he receiving help now, or is his family just shrugging off this incident? I certainly hope not.
There was a super article in the New York Post called "The Animal Cruelty Syndrome" that talks about the undeniable link between animal cruelty and violence between humans and how almost every adult that hurts large amounts of humans began his journey killing animals as a child. Even the world of dog fighting is filled with child abuse because just to be around the world of it is abuse - but the dog fighting world is also filled with drug abuse and dealing, violence, guns, gambling and other gross stuff that children should never see - and to expect those children to grow up and have normal empathy for animals is unrealistic. It's an excellent article.
Chaining dogs and the whole philosophy around the idea of abandoning a family member in your back yard and thinking its an okay thing to do - that the dog is going to be allright on his own - that he can protect himself against people walking by, that he won't escape from the yard somehow and be lost forever and have a horrible painful death - is a philosophy that must be phased out.
No responsible person would leave their 2 or 3 year old child in their back yard for hours at a time unsupervised - why do people do that with their dogs? In this day and age when there is so much malevolence in the world - it is just such a bad idea.
When an eight year old boy can come and beat your pomeranian to death with a barbecue fork - why leave him chained out while you go to Walmart to pick up a few things?
The time has passed when dogs can be left alone outside. Unless of course the owner doesn't care if they die. But then that's a different story, isn't it? Maybe that's how we can rebrand it - if someone's dog is chained outside we can just assume that they don't care about their dog - so that dog is free for the taking. Really, it's quite obvious that that is the only answer. The only can't care about the dog - otherwise the dog would be inside.