BC SPCA launches provincewide campaign to highlight plight of chained dogs
October 23, 2009. For immediate release.
|The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) has launched a provincewide education campaign to raise awareness about the plight of chained, backyard dogs.
"Every year SPCA animal protection officers respond to hundreds of calls about dogs who are chained or tethered in backyards," says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.
"It's devastating for these animals because they are social, pack animals and they suffer a wide range of maladaptive behaviours when they are isolated from humans and other animals." She notes that dogs who are continuously tethered and deprived of socialization often exhibit signs of anxiety, fear, frustration, boredom and depression. "Chained dogs may also become aggressive because they have a strong 'fight or flight' response and they have no way of retreating from people or other animals who come into their territory."
The BC SPCA's new awareness campaign, entitled "Break the Chains of Suffering," includes a 30-second television public service spot, posters, educational material for dog guardians on alternatives to tethering their pets and information on the negative physical and psychological impact of chaining or isolating dogs. "The campaign will work hand in hand with the existing work of our cruelty investigations department as our officers respond to calls about backyard dogs," says Chortyk. "Our first step is to educate pet guardians about the problem and how to resolve it. Many people simply aren't aware of the harm they are causing their pet and they are willing to make immediate changes when they have the proper help and information. However, if pet guardians fail to remedy the situation, we then proceed to enforcement action under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act wherever possible to ensure the dog's long-term safety and welfare."
Chortyk says dogs are often chained as a means to control their behaviour. "If a dog displays a behaviour that the guardian can't deal with they will put the animal outside and tie them up as a means of control," she says. "Unfortunately this just makes the situation worse because the isolation causes the bond between the guardian and pet to break down even further." She says enrolling the dog in obedience training as soon as any problem emerges and nurturing the animal-human bond is key in this situation.
She adds that dogs are also frequently kept outdoors because their guardians want them to serve as watchdogs. "The irony is that dogs are much more effective in warding off intruders if they are indoors with the family and are well-socialized," says Chortyk. "If they bond with their guardians they are much more likely to bark if they hear strangers than if they are kept isolated outdoors."
She notes that it is important to get a dog for the right reasons. "A dog should not be used as an alarm system. They need opportunities to run, play, explore and interact with others. If you can't provide this, you should think twice about getting a dog."
For more information about chained dogs and how to prevent the problem, visit spca.bc.ca/welfare/campaign-issues/tethered-dogs.html.
Visit our official BC SPCA YouTube Channel for our 'Break the Chains of Suffering' PSA and many more videos.
For more information:
Lorie Chortyk, General Manager, Community Relations, BC SPCA, 604-647-1316; 604-830-7179
The BC SPCA is a non-profit organization funded primarily by
public donations. Our mission is to prevent cruelty and to promote the
welfare of animals through a wide range of services, including cruelty
investigations, emergency rescue and treatment, sheltering and adoption
of homeless and abused animals, humane education, advocacy, farm animal
welfare, spay/neuter programs, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.