- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 3, 2007

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Seven dog lovers who oppose the chaining of pets spent part of the weekend tethered to doghouses and poles as their canine friends frolicked in an off-leash area of a park.

“We do it for the animals because they can’t speak for themselves and we want people to know that it is actually a form of cruelty,” said Susan Hartland, who handed out fliers to passing dog owners Saturday while tied by a rope to a lawn stake.

Miss Hartland was in Marymoor Park as a representative for Dogs Deserve Better, a Pennsylvania-based group that organizes an annual event called “Unchain the 50.” It was the fifth year for the protest, meant to raise awareness of what group members think are the detrimental effects of chaining dogs.

The group aims to have at least one person in each state live chained to a doghouse for eight to 24 hours to raise awareness the damage that tethering can cause a dog. They advocate laws limiting dog tethering.

Citing statistics from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advocates contend that a chained dog is 2.8 times more likely to bite than an unchained dog. They say chained dogs also typically lack adequate veterinary care, food, water or shelter and can develop infections and severe wounds when their collars become embedded in their necks.

Wearing her dog’s old collar, Leslie Kenter chained herself to a doghouse that belonged to her dog, Gus. Miss Kenter thinks a state limit on tethering would have saved Gus, a German shepherd mix she rescued but later euthanized because of his untreatable aggressive behavior.

“He longed for love and companionship, and he received neither,” she wrote in a flier about her dog. “As hard as he tried, Gus could not let go of being protective — this is what he had learned during the years he was chained.”