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

 November 7, 2013

Each year the BC SPCA responds to hundreds of complaints about dogs left isolated outdoors for long periods of time, often tethered on a chain or a rope. BC SPCA animal protection officers are limited to intervening only when animals are found “in distress,” but several new education resources are now available to help get outdoor dogs inside the home.

Visit to learn more about:

  • The risks for outdoor dogs

  • Training tips for bringing an outdoor dog inside

  • Myths and facts about keeping a dog tethered or permanently outside

As colder temperatures set in, the BC SPCA would like to remind everyone that dogs who are kept indoors with their families the majority of the time are healthier, happier and safer. Most dogs enjoy time spent outdoors playing with human and animal companions, but this is very different than a life spent isolated and alone outside.

Dogs who are left outdoors for the majority of their lives - in a backyard, pen, on a balcony, loose on property or tethered on a chain or rope – are at risk for physical harm, neglect, behavioural issues and health problems.

Take action to help outdoor dogs

The BC SPCA is active in responding to cruelty complaints and lobbying 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.

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The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

Don’t have email? Don’t worry! Call us at 1-800-665-1868


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