A reader sent me a copy of a Craigslist posting regarding the legality of chaining your dog outside. She requested I write my comments about this practice.
According to the article sent to me, the writer had researched the subject from: http://animallaw.info/articles/State%20Tables/tbustetherlaws.htm and http://www.unchainyourdog.org/Laws.htm.
According to the research provided, there are only two areas in the state with laws pertaining to chaining your pet: Louisville and Jefferson County, and Bowling Green.
The laws are strict, and according to some friends in the Jefferson County area, are regularly policed. In Jefferson County, according to the posting, “It is prohibited to exclusively restrain a dog or puppy by a fixed-point chain or tether. A fixed-point restraint may be used temporarily but not to exceed one (1) hour in a twenty-four (24) hour period.” The Bowling Green ordinance reads that a dog should be “No longer chained than an hour but dogs may be tethered to a pulley or trolley system provided that it is at least 10 feet long and no more than 7 feet above the ground.”
Now I must include my observations. Fortunately, I can remember only two instances, but only one had a fearfully happy ending. It concerned a little mixed-breed terrier that was chained to a doghouse on a long chain. I found the young dog wrapped round and round the doghouse and the chain was somehow wrapped around the body and legs of the dog preventing it from moving at all. I had to unhook the chain and, holding on to the grateful dog, unwind the chain from the house. I really hated to snap that chain back on to the excited terrier, but I went home and called the owners.
Fortunately, the doghouse was under two enormous trees and in dense shade.
The other instance of chaining involved a larger terrier-type dog that was tethered on a trolley. Unknown to the owners who left for work, a neighbor’s teenage daughter thought it would be fun to play with the dog by throwing pillows at it. Unfortunately, the dog considered it an assault — not play — and after several weeks of torment, realized there was a time when the antagonist was venerable, when she was darting in to pick up the pillows.
Dogs are smart, smarter than we give them credit for. This time, the dog’s intelligence stopped the game, which turned lethal for him since he attacked the girl as she retrieved the pillows and sent her to the hospital with lacerations of the face and throat. The dog was euthanized.
My opinion of chaining dogs is: (1) it can make the dog aggressive. (2) It can frighten the dog permanently, especially if it stays out in a thunderstorm. (3) It can kill the dog if it is left in the sun during the summer. (Remember, the sun moves, so the area may not be always shaded.)
My suggestion, take the dog to the park or yard for his exercise, and if he must be left alone, leave him in a safe, air conditioned enclosure.