Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nova Scotia is failing chained dogs all over the place

A dog died today in Hammonds Plains Nova Scotia. He hanged himself - he was left tethered unattended on a deck and tried to jump off - and the inevitable happened. Supposedly 9 huskies live on this property and the property owner has had negative encounters with the dogs getting loose. This one won't be getting loose anymore, that's for sure.

There are 3 tenets of a responsible dog owner that cannot be repeated often enough - train, CONTAIN, socialize. You cannot leave out one of those three parts.

But that's not what this blog post is about - this blog post is about how dogs are dying every day in Nova Scotia - and no one is noticing, really - because the will isn't there. And the government really does not care.

So I'm going to talk about some of the ways that dogs are dying in this province. People see it happening everyday and they know there's nothing they can do about it, so their own personal hearts die a little bit inside knowing that such suffering exists - and hope that someday someone in power will be able to change things.

The first dog I want to talk about is a dog named Zeus - he was tied out 24 hrs a day 365 days a year because he was a "husky" and his owner said "he wanted to be outside" - which is a load of bullshit. Dogs want to be with their owners.

The big things with Zeus was - he liked to go on walk-abouts. He kept breaking free from his chain and he'd be gone for hours or days - and the last time he got free he must have gotten hit by a car because he came back with a big gash on his head - but his "owner" didn't take him to a vet - he just tied him back to his dog house - to watch him slowly die. It took him 2 weeks. But he did. You can read his story - "life and death of a dog on Mayor Ave"

Daisy came from a native reservation in Cape Breton - her owner had moved away and the person on the property didn't feel like feeding her anymore. She'd had 3 litters in her 3 years and was completely emaciated. She had no protection from roving dogs or negative humans and was finally rescued - her collar was almost embedded, but at least she made it out alive.

In 2010 a dog in Cape Breton froze to death on the end of his chain - and no charges were ever filed - by the NS SPCA, by anyone. They couldn't decide that any cruelty had taken place. Can you believe that? A dog died alone, by himself - frozen to the ground, chained to - a dog house, or something - I don't know what, if he even had any shelter - and the people in charge couldn't decide if there was negligence or cruelty involved. Really.

As well - I don't know if a lot of people know that it's legal in almost all places in Nova Scotia for dog catchers and peace officers to shoot dogs on sight if they think a dog is dangerous or if the dog is running at large - or really, for any reason at all.

In one week in 2009 - In Waycobah Cape Breton, a woman's german shepherd was barking at some men who were ice fishing - so they called 911 and the local dog catcher came who shot him 10 times - killing him.

And then here just outside of Halifax in Ketch Harbour - a dog was shot dead when it was on a walk-about - and the owners are devastated - I guess the dog regularly ran around at large, and one of the problems with our provincial laws is that it's perfectly legal to shoot a dog if you say you saw it chasing wildlife and it's owner was not around and under his voice control. So in this sad story the only human breaking the law was the grieving dog owner.

And last but not least - the Yarmouth SPCA in July 2013 - actually auctions off dog houses to the highest bidder - if that's not in bad taste, I don't know what is.

I'm sure I could have thought up and dredged up more dead dogs out of my files, but there's not too much point.  You get the point.

You might even have a story or two you could add of dead chained dogs - whether it was because he hanged himself, starved to death, froze to death, ran away and was shot, hit by a car, eaten by a coyote, or whatever - there are tons of ways for a chained dog to die.

And those are all the ways we are are failing chained dogs in this province - it's not just because we are leaving them on a chain - there's more than one way to kill a cat.  And a chained dog.

A chained dog is an unsupervised sentient being - they truly cannot control their environment.  If only their owners understood that - and if only the people we are trying to get to write the legislation understood that.

In my opinion - any dog that is tethered is in distress on a continual basis simply because they ARE tethered - if you were shackled to a phone booth in downtown Halifax with no way to escape wouldn't you be in continual distress?

Martin Luther King wrote a very true thing:

It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also. So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees.


  1. Shelley10:55 PM

    Excellent post! Are we going backwards when it comes to proper animal care? We sure as heck don't seem to be evolving or moving forward! I know these stories are common and have gone on for a long's only because of caring people & social media that we are seeing it so publicly and are able to share with the rest of the Province and/or Country. Because of that, change should be coming, there should be hope...something to look forward to as animal lovers. We shouldn't have to keep fighting this fight as hard as we do, but I'm glad we are. I'm glad I know people who WON'T give up until change comes! We can't EVER give up...their lives depend on it!

  2. Zeus situation aside, some huskies DO want to be outside and not inside with the family. My mother had a dog who broke her heart because he hated being in the house. The older he got the worse the situation got too. I have met other husky owners with the same story to tell. My elderly father would try to pull the dog inside during bad weather and once the dog (who had gotten very old) snapped at him. They put his food in a garage so he would have to come in to eat and then sometimes try to trap him and get him in the house but the dog would go nuts. When you try to tell people about how huskies "can" be, people get so angry and accusatory saying horrible things like the dog didn't like us. But he was a sweet dog who loved us and my parents loved him too. They did bond and have trust and Bear wasn't like that nervous in the house when he was younger but even then he wouldn't stay in long. I would be very hesitant to adopt any type of sled dogs because it was so stressful. But back then it was difficult to get support or information too. We have lap dogs now and they are very happy in the house and can't tolerate being outside more than 20 minutes and sometimes even less if the weather is the least bit hot or cold. They can't be outside alone for more than a minute. We loved dogs and I can't even read some of the cases because they are so upsetting. Most dogs want to be with the family in the house. I would even venture to guess that most sled dogs would rather be in the house but sometimes some sled dogs just can't stand being contained in a people house.

  3. I disagree on so many levels, I have been rescuing chained dogs since 2003 and I have never met a dog, no matter what his breed or circumstances that would rather stay outside 24/7 by himself than be inside with humans and love and companionship - it is just totally against a dogs nature. Period.