Art to help dogs

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS LEE

THINGS looked bright when young pup Jack was small but grad­u­ally his own­ers lost in­ter­est and he was dis­carded out­side and chained up with no wa­ter and ined­i­ble food.

Jack is one of the lucky ones. The ema­ci­ated an­i­mal was res­cued by Auck­land­based Chained Dog Aware­ness which is fight­ing for a to­tal ban on chain­ing.

He will now live out the rest of his days in a lov­ing home.

But many dogs in back­yards across New Zealand will live and die at the end of a chain or in cages and Leah Mei­hana is one of the peo­ple stand­ing up for change.

The artist is hold­ing a char­ity event called Off The Chain at her K’ Rd bou­tique to raise money for the group dur­ing the precinct’s First Thurs­days arts event.

Tat­too and con­tem­po­rary artists have gifted works to be sold and auc­tioned off dur­ing the evening and they will also come to­gether to cre­ate a piece of live art.

Ms Mei­hana says she wants to raise aware­ness about the sit­u­a­tion be­cause many peo­ple don’t know chained dogs ex­ist in their neigh­bour­hoods.

‘‘I think it’s im­por­tant peo­ple are aware that this is hap­pen­ing. Some peo­ple don’t like to see the photos or read the sto­ries, but sadly these dogs are ev­ery­where.’’

And Chained Dog Aware­ness vol­un­teer Vic­to­ria Palmer says un­for­tu­nately this is true.

‘‘It’s an epi­demic. There are thou­sands of dogs of all breeds suf­fer­ing across New Zealand – not just in South and West Auck­land.’’

Hun­dreds of chained dogs die each year from star­va­tion, de­hy­dra­tion and ne­glect, she says.

The group con­tin­ues to fight against dogs be­ing chained up and has made a sub­mis­sion in a re­view of the An­i­mal Wel­fare Act cur­rently be­ing un­der­taken.

En­forc­ing present an­i­mal pro­tec­tion leg­is­la­tion is a chal­lenge be­cause wel­fare groups are faced with own­ers who can claim to pro­vide ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties such as shel­ter, food, wa­ter and ex­er­cise and it is hard to prove oth­er­wise.

Jack’s only shel­ter was un­der­neath the house on dirty and rub­bish-lit­tered con­crete and he was teased re­peat­edly by his owner’s chil­dren.

He faced a life of ne­glect but af­ter a long and slow process the group was able to con­vince his own­ers to re­lin­quish own­er­ship be­cause he had ‘‘be­come a nui­sance’’ to them.

One Mt Al­bert dog is still suf­fer­ing at the end of a chain, Ms Palmer says.

The young dog has been tor­tured to be­come ‘‘mean’’ and is de­hy­drated.

She is the re­place­ment for an­other dog which died af­ter liv­ing out its nine years chained up on the prop­erty.

‘‘There are lots more un­happy end­ings than happy ones,’’ Ms Palmer says.

All of the pro­ceeds from Off The Chain will go to­wards the group. The fundraiser is on May 2 at Ahoy Cu­tie, 214 Karanga­hape Rd, Cross St Ar­cade, from 6pm till 10pm.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Break­ing the chain: K’ Rd artist Leah Mei­hana is or­gan­is­ing a char­ity event called Off The Chain, to raise aware­ness and sup­port for Chained Dog Aware­ness.

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