Our mission: To protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.


People tether dogs for a variety of reasons; solutions are available

Passive cruelty. Neglect. Ignorance. These are all terms that can be used to describe the act of leaving a dog on a rope or chain, or even in a yard alone and isolated, for long periods. 

Dogs, like humans, are social creatures and require the companionship of their parent(s). Without the benefit of companionship and socialization, dogs can become neurotic, depressed or aggressive.

Left alone for hours, days and months on a chain can cause immense psychological damage to the dog. Left alone and exposed, dogs will become fearful, aggressive, anxious and desperate, putting anyone who comes close at risk. A tethered dog can also become tangled and choke to death or be attacked by wildlife or other roaming dogs.

Take action to help outdoor dogs

The BC SPCA is active in responding to cruelty complaints and working with municipal governments to adopt stronger animal care bylaws that prevent tethering as a primary means of confinement for dogs. We know from the calls we receive and also from the responses to our public survey that many people across B.C. are concerned about outdoor dogs and want to see more awareness of the issues and stronger regulations to protect animals. Here are a few ways you can get involved and help improve the lives of outdoor dogs.

  • Talk to the animal's owner if you feel comfortable doing so. Let them know you are concerned about the animal's well-being. Information about the risks for outdoor dogs and training tips on how to bring an outdoor dog inside are available on the BC SPCA's website:

  • Raise awareness. Talk with friends, family, neighbours and acquaintances and take our Facebook pledge to promote dogs as part of the family.

  • Lobby for stronger bylaws to protect outdoor dogs. Many municipalities have bylaws about animal care. Check to see if your municipality’s animal control bylaw includes outdoor dogs or tethering restrictions (see page five of our review of B.C. municipal bylaws). If so, you can request that a bylaw officer visit the property to ensure that minimum animal care standards are being met. If your municipality does not have existing bylaws, join the BC SPCA in asking municipalities to support stronger animal care bylaws by writing to your local elected officials.

  • Call our cruelty hotline if you suspect an animal is in distress: 1-855-622-7722. A BC SPCA special provincial constable will follow up on the complaint. BC SPCA constables have educational materials on outdoor dogs to help owners transition their dog inside. If the animal is found to be in distress, the constable will issue orders to the owner to relieve the animal's suffering.

Image courtesy of

Dog tethering information and resources

The BC SPCA has developed a resource kit to help you bring the dog back into the family and important resources to help you learn more about this problem and how you can avoid this behaviour.

Resources are available to provide all tethered and outdoor dog owners the training information they need.

Share this website with a friend or neighbour who keeps their dog outdoors.

People leave their dogs chained up for many reasons; they don't have to.

Learn why some dogs are tethered or chained and altenative solutions.

10 questions about tethered dogs 

What is wrong with tethering a dog? Are tethered dogs aggressive? Does the SPCA have any power to prevent people from doing this? Download the answers to common questions about tethering.   

What do I do if I see a tethered dog in my neighbourhood?

 Learn how to recognize signs neglect or abuse and when to report an animal in distress.


Break the Chains of Suffering Campaign video


printer-friendly version Printer Friendly version

Imagine Canada Accreditation

Join the conversation; follow us online: