By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — City councilors looked to the city attorney to review and make a recommendation about an ordinance presented Monday to prohibit the tethering of dogs within the city.
Continuing Helping Animals In Need & Educating Dog owners Inc., a Riverview animal advocacy group, proposed the creation of the ordinance to establish penalties for residents who leave dogs chained outside for more than three hours at a time.
C.H.A.I.N.E.D. Director Janet Conley said the ordinance is meant to deter pet owners from leaving a dog chained up outside 24 hours a day.
She would like the ordinance to include a provision to mandate a minimum 10-foot chain with a non-choke collar, that weighs less than one-eighth of the dog’s weight and is an inch bigger than the dog’s neck.
Trenton, Dearborn, River Rouge and Woodhaven have implemented similar ordinances, C.H.A.I.N.E.D. volunteer and Woodhaven Mayor Patricia Odette said, based on the calls received about the conditions some pets are experiencing.
Odette said the organization approached her about a year ago about adopting a similar ordinance. She told the Wyandotte City Council it did not seem like a problem around her until Trenton’s animal control received a call about two weeks later regarding dogs left chained up in freezing cold weather.
She spoke with the owner of the dogs and he told her there wasn’t much he could do about it, which she said was the point she approached Trenton with the tethering ordinance. She said the ordinance was adopted “immediately” and the council should “seriously consider” the ordinance in front of them.
“Wyandotte is not exempt from this problem,” Odette said. “If you think this can’t happen here, it is already happening. The fact of the matter is there are some dogs being left exposed to harsh weather conditions without access to shelter or a supply of food and water 24 hours a day.”
Conley and Odette said C.H.A.I.N.E.D. pushes for owners to bring dogs inside the home. Dogs left outside have less opportunity to become “socialized beings,” they said, and have a higher chance of injury being chained up outside because of “dramatic weather changes,” the potential to be attacked by other animals, and the higher chances of getting entangled and choked by short leashes.
“There is absolutely no reason to chain a dog,” Conley said. “A chained dog cannot properly socialize with other animals or people. They will never know how to properly protect a home because they are only socialized with the individual that feeds them. They can’t distinguish a friend from anyone else who enters their area and learn to become aggressive.”
Owners have several “safer” options available for housing their pets, she said, and the group offers life-enhancing supplies and services to owners who might not be able to afford them or “aren’t educated on what to do.”
C.H.A.I.N.E.D. offers insulated dog houses, spay and neuter assistance, vaccines, flea and tick prevention, heartworm prevention, food assistance, treats and toys, Conley said, along with assistance in fence building, fence extensions and dig proofing yards.
She said these services are free to dog owners, and the owners can contact the organization to take advantage of the services.
Dog owners or anyone who believes an animal is in need can contact the organization via email ([email protected]) or Facebook (chainedinc2011).
Anyone can donate to the organization through its website, www.chained2011.org, or by mailing a donation to: C.H.A.I.N.E.D. Inc., P.O. Box 2464, Riverview, MI, 48193. Conley said if people don’t feel comfortable sending money, they can access the organization’s Amazon wishlist through the website or Facebook page to donate toys, treats or other items for animals in need.
(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at [email protected])