New laws needed on teth­er­ing an­i­mals

Cape Breton Post - - COMMENT - Dawn Skin­ner Hal­i­fax

I was hor­ri­fied to read a story about the dog that was found dead at the end of his owner’s chain in an iso­lated log­ging area in Bar­ra­chois.

This dog likely spent its life chained, with lim­ited phys­i­cal in­ter­ac­tion, ex­er­cise, stim­u­la­tion or love. This dog lived and died alone. Un­der the cur­rent laws in Nova Sco­tia, chain­ing or con­fin­ing a dog for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is ac­cept­able.

While the SPCA was in­volved in this an­i­mal’s case, the owner was said to have met the min­i­mum stan­dard of care un­der the law.

How can it be that Nova Sco­tia’s an­i­mal pro­tec­tion laws have set a min­i­mum stan­dard of care that en­sures a piti­ful life for th­ese an­i­mals? When there is no ex­er­cise or stim­u­la­tion, min­i­mal pro­tec­tion from the el­e­ments and no way for the an­i­mal to es­cape preda­tors, tor­men­tors or abu­sive own­ers, how can this be the min­i­mum stan­dard of care for a sen­tient be­ing?

Much of civ­i­lized so­ci­ety un­der­stands that the chain­ing of dogs for pro­longed pe­ri­ods can cause ag­gres­sive­ness and can be a form of abuse. Grow­ing pup­pies that spend their lives on a tether are of­ten ne­glected and can suf­fer from col­lars be­com­ing imbed­ded in their necks.

Nu­mer­ous gov­ern­ment agen- cies that en­force an­i­mal pro­tec­tion laws have con­cluded that con­tin­u­ous con­fine­ment of dogs by a tether is in­hu­mane and that an­i­mals teth­ered for pro­longed pe­ri­ods of time are more likely to bite peo­ple and be­come ag­gres­sive.

To deal with th­ese is­sues, many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in North Amer­ica have im­ple­mented anti-chain­ing laws that pro­hibit teth­er­ing in bad weather, limit the num­ber of hours a dog can spend on a tether in a 24 hour pe­riod, and reg­u­late the type of col­lar and the type and length of chain.

I en­cour­age all who be­lieve that teth­er­ing an an­i­mal for pro­longed pe­ri­ods of time is un­ac­cept­able to con­tact their mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil and pro­vin­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tives to urge them to pass leg­is­la­tion mak­ing it il­le­gal for an an­i­mal to be teth­ered in an iso­lated area and without su­per­vi­sion, to tether an an­i­mal for 24 hours a day, or to tether an an­i­mal in in­clement weather and ex­treme tem­per­a­tures.

For a so­cial and loving be­ing, this should be just one of the tenets of the min­i­mum stan­dard of care.

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