Doesn't Man's Best Friend Deserve More than Life on a Chain?

18 Ways to Help

Adopt a Rescued Dog

Build Fences

Care for & Train Dogs

Donate Money

Educate Kids

Find Homes

Get Handouts & Stuff

Learn the Facts

Pass Laws

Stop Dogfighting

Talk to Owners

Share Celebrity Videos

Watch Chaining PowerPoint



How You Can Improve Laws

Educational Powerpoint (PPT file for general audiences) Petition Flyer/Cover Sheet
Educational Powerpoint (PDF file for general audiences) How Chaining Laws Work in 7 Communities
Ordinance PowerPoint (PPT file for law makers)
View speakers notes for instructions on using
How Enforceable Will Our Law Be?
Chaining Q & A Word Animal Control Interviews re: Chaining Bans
Chaining Q & A PDF How Laws Impact Loose Dogs/Dog Bites
Photos of Injured Children and Chained Dogs PDF

Visit DDB, HelpingAnimals,and HSUS for more resources!

Steps for improving the dog ordinance in your city or state:

  1. Educate yourself on the issue of chaining. Learn how chaining affects dogs, and how chained dogs are a danger to the community. Familiarize yourself with laws in other communities that ban or restrict chaining.

    I no longer advocate for ordinances that allow trolleys/dog runs. In theory, they are better than a short fixed chain, but it is too easy for dogs to get tangled and strangled on trolleys. A dog died on a trolley I installed because he got tangled up in the summer heat and couldn't get free. They just aren't the solution. This doesn't mean everyone has to build a fence. People who can't afford fences can bring their dogs inside to be part of the family.
  2. Research the current law in your own city or county. All animal ordinances should have a section regarding the confinement of animals. A section regulating tethering could be added to this section. Many city laws can be found on the Web site If your community's laws aren't found there, check with your local library, City Hall, or County Commission and request a copy of the animal ordinance. You should also familiarize yourself with your state's law.
  3. Find a model ordinance. Look at these laws from other communities across America. You can use these verbatim, or combine several ordinances to create one you think will work best for your community.

    If your current ordinance is weak on other dog issues, such as shelter requirements or cruelty, consider trying to update those sections, too.
  4. Find allies. Search your community for people who will help you in your campaign. Call your local humane society, veterinary offices (vets typically get a lot of respect from city officials), environmental groups, dog clubs, and animal rescue groups.

    Search the web for local animal-related listserves. Send an email to everyone you know to interest people in the issue and ask for support.

    Create a flyer with a few photos of chained dogs with a tagline, "Tired of seeing chained, neglected dogs? Call *** to help campaign for a better animal ordinance in our city" You could even run a small ad in the newspaper.
  5. Know your opposition. Think about who in your community might oppose your campaign. Hunters (who often keep hunting dogs chained or in small pens), dog breeders, advocates for the economically disadvantaged, and sled dog groups often oppose anti-chaining legislation. The AKC has recently begun fighting chaining laws.
  6. Introduce your ordinance. Go to a City Director of County Commissioner who is friendly to animal issues, or go to your own representative. Your City Attorney may be helpful in explaining how laws are passed in your community.

    Meet with whomever enforces the animal ordinance in your community, probably the police, humane society, or animal services. Since they will be the ones enforcing the law, it's important to get their opinion. City employees such as police and animal control officers usually get respectful attention at City Hall.

    Download this generic PowerPoint slide show to edit and use in presentations. Click "save to computer." Read each slide's Speaker's Notes for more information about the slide and how to best use it.

    When you meet with people, present:
     IMPORTANT: When you talk with your legislator, be sure and stress the danger that chained dogs pose to people.  Print this Q&A, Flyer, Photo Sheet, and news stories and statements from the CDC, AVMA, and USDA on the link between chaining and aggression. Chained dogs usually become very territorial and aggressive, and when they get loose are likely to injure people. Chained dogs are also most likely unvaccinated and unlicensed.

    Stress that an ordinance addressing chaining is a powerful tool for Animal Services Officers to have. In every city there are repeat offenders who always have neglected dogs in their backyard, but the dogs aren't neglected enough for an ACO to bring cruelty charges.

    An anti-chaining ordinance will give ACOs the ability to cite these repeat offenders and end the cycle of neglect. After our ordinance passed in Little Rock, people who had had chained and neglected their dogs for years finally gave up their dogs. For the first time in years, their yards are empty of hungry, flea-bitten, chained dogs who were a constant source of worry to the neighborhood.

    A chaining ban also helps crack down on dogfighters. It can be hard to bust a dogfight, but many dogfighters do keep their dogs continually chained.

    Be prepared for the argument: What about poor people who can't afford a fence? Activist Ambuja Rosen interviewed advocates for the poor in her community, who both agreed that chaining is not an issue of economics.

    You don't have to have a fence to have a dog! Think about the thousands of apartment-dwellers in large cities who don't even have yards. Their dogs are perfectly happy living inside with regular walks.
  7. Lobbying:
  • Once you have a sponsor (or even if you don't have a sponsor), lobby the other commissioners. Provide informational packets to all of them.
  • Have supporters submit letters to the editor of your local paper.
  • Mobilize your supporters to contact their commissioners. Try to find people in each ward/district to contact that ward's commissioner.
  • Send lots of letters to your local newspaper. You can write several letters yourself and read them to your friends. If your friends agree with the content, ask if you can put their name on the letter and send it in.
  • Gather signatures on petitions to present at City Hall. You can use this flyer when gathering signatures.
  • You can ask national organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States to write letters for you. However, be warned that sometimes communities resent "outside interference."
  • Create a list of local organizations who support your ordinance, and find out how many members each group has. The groups don't have to sign anything--just give you their verbal approval of the law.
  • Use the media carefully! Try getting your ordinance to City Hall "under the radar" first. If lawmakers are totally unreceptive, then try influencing them with media attention. However, getting your issue in the public will draw detractors and people who think chaining is perfectly OK.
  1. Public Hearings: Most City Board meetings have a time in their meetings when citizens can make comments. Sometimes hearings are planned where citizens can speak out on a specific issue. Take advantage of this. Get dog bite victims, animal welfare activists, vets, dog trainers, K9 police officers, or just regular folks to speak on behalf of the ordinance.

    Present your petitions and/or list of supporting organizations. Even if there are only 5 supporters at City Hall that day, you can say, "Our local humane society, the K9 Dog Club, CARE Animal Rescue Group, and the ARF Animal Group all support this. These 4 organizations represent 600 local citizens in support of this law."

    Do not be over-emotional! Lawmakers typically have more respect for rational, well-thought-out arguments than crying and hand-wringing. Have facts - don't just say, "Do this because of the poor, poor dogs." Too much emotion tends to make lawmakers uncomfortable.

    Be sure that public speakers dress professionally. You don't want to be written off as an "animal rights nut" before you even open your mouth!
  2. The Vote: In the days before the vote, get as many phone calls, faxes and emails to them as possible. Make sure they know the majority of people want this law to help dogs.

    Remind your legislators that at the end of every leash, there is a voter! Most people who love dogs want to see them treated well, not chained 24/7.

Remember that your city/county legislators work for YOU! You are paying their salaries and they have an obligation to listen to you. To pass a new law requires persistence and courage. You may be told time and again to forget about your idea. So keep at it!

Many, many cities are passing new laws! It can be done, often pretty easily. So join the revolution! :-)

Passing a law is the BEST way to help ALL dogs in your community!

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