Give me your tired, your poor, your hungry – Why tethered dogs need your help!

Sometimes I get so caught up in my little world of very well treated dogs that I tend to forget about all the ones out there suffering. In Washington we are being given an opportunity to make a difference for those who don’t have the wonderful lives of the animals I know.

Thank you Margo for bringing this to my attention.

Washington state is considering an ordinance which would make it illegal to leave your dog chained outside continually. Here is a detailed article from the Seattle P-I written when the last ordinance in King County was going up for a vote, Law would prohibit pet owners from continuously confining dogs. This time we are trying to get this passed as a law for all of Washington State as there is nothing within the law to help these poor animals which are left on the end of a chain for their whole lives being denied the love and family they long for. Not only is this a sad and horrible life for these dogs but chained dogs tend to have more issues with aggression and are more likely to bite and harm children and other people. In fact there is a group called Mothers against dog chaining dedicated to this issue.

Here is a wonderful explanation by Cesar Milan on why dogs should not be tethered.

Here is the full text of the bill.

If you are in Washington state please take a moment to contact your legislator . To find you legislator, please visit find your legislator. If you are not in Washington state consider contacting your local government to see if they will address this issue in your area.

Here is a copy of the letter Margo wrote addressing some of the horrible situations she has seen in her work with animals.

Dear legislator,

First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to consider this
important issue.

Chaining a dog as a way of life is both cruel to the animal and dangerous to
humans, especially children. The dog most likely to attack and seriously
injure or kill a child is a chained, un-neutered male. For more on this,
please go to

As someone who has observed and tried to help a number of chained dogs over
the years, I can say I have yet to see a chained dog that has adequate food,
water, shelter or a remotely clean living area, let alone socialization,
exercise or vet care. Many dogs suffer profound neck injuries and even death
when embedded chains finally sever their windpipe. Most people seem to think
their dogs are somehow weatherproof as well.

Just a few examples of what I¹ve seen personally:

A young boxer who was chained because the owner said she jumped on his two
year old son. Inadequate food, water, shelter and feces everywhere. She was
kept out in sub-freezing weather, and you could see her visibly shivering.

A pit bull chained to a tree with no food, no water and no shelter. The
chain was so heavy she could only move her eyes.

Two pit bulls at another house, one chained to the front step, and another
chained to a doghouse in the backyard. There was so much mud, the dog
refused to leave the doghouse. Both were on extremely heavy chains.

A husky-cattle dog who was chained to a tree, and wrapped himself up so
tight he couldn’t move. The owner said,” Yeah, he does that.” Dirty water, no
food, and he couldn’t even get to his doghouse.

The German Shepherd whose owner would walk out the back porch and throw raw
hamburger into the dirt. The police ended up shooting and killing the dog.

The Saint Bernard who simply laid on his side in the dirt, never moving, the
picture of utter hopelessness and defeat.

The people who were in the P-I article earlier this year never cease to
amaze me, either.

The woman in Snoqualmie who got herself a young, high energy spaniel-lab,
which she sentenced to living on a chain because he’s hyperactive.

The couple in Maple Valley whose yellow lab is chained because he’s not
housebroken and he sheds. They refuse to re-home him.

The dog in Rainier Valley who is occasionally fed rice and has been chained
the last five years.

The fourteen year old husky mix who has probably been chained to that fence
in Enumclaw his entire life. His crime? He runs away.

All these people have abdicated their responsibility to properly exercise
and train their animals. It is simply easier to chain them and forget about
them, while blaming the animal for the problem(s) the human has created.

The man and his son in Maple Valley who are training attack dogs. The photo
showed a young pit bull in a plywood shack of a doghouse. They did have
enough money to crop the dog’s ears, however. (I’m giving them the benefit
of the doubt that they didn’t do it themselves with no anesthesia and a pair
of scissors).

The breeders and others who will yell and scream at you that it’s their
right to chain their dogs are merely keeping them as cheaply as possible
until they sell them and make a quick buck. They are no better than puppy
millers in the sense that they don’t care one iota about the well being of
the dogs, nor do they consider the possible damage the animal could do
if/when the dog becomes aggressive due to being kept chained and

I hope you will pass a real anti-chaining ordinance in the near future that
has, pardon the pun, teeth.

Margo W.
West Seattle


5 Responses to “Give me your tired, your poor, your hungry – Why tethered dogs need your help!”

  1. kate Says:

    Lena, a question about dogs and ticks.

    I thought I had good plans. I knew from intuition that my 4 year old German shepherd needs a playmate. I have had dogs all my life, and he needs more. So, I took him to the dog park in my city that I drive by often, to see how he got along with dogs. Fine. He loves to play.

    And he came home with ticks. (So much for Frontline Advantix.)

    And not knowing this, the next day I left for a tiny mountain cabin I own.

    I have two houses with ticks, and did what any American would do. Vacuumed, and vacuumed and cleaned. Sprayed Raid. Put “Off” repellant on me. Gave my dog his first ever shampoo, with a shampoo with Premethrin.

    I was bitten twice and found engorged ticks (just saying to explain) so I am sure he had the same ordeal.

    It looks a lot better now, and I haven’t seen a tick in about four days. (First signs of it ten days ago.)

    Here’s my question. My dog keeps shaking his head, especially when he wakes up or gets up. This is new behavior.

    He did this before I shampooed his head. The instructions on the shampoo said to start at his head and work back, but I did not want to risk anything getting in his eyes or nose or ears, so I started at his neck. When he kept shaking his head, I went back and carefully shampooed it a couple days later.

    Just wondering if you have any other ideas or suggestions, since I bet you know a lot more than me!



  2. Lena Says:

    Hi Kate,
    It is possible that he got an ear infection from being bathed. Also there is a slight possibility that there are ticks in his ear (they tend to get in ears). Although you will not be able to see down to the bottom of his ear canal you can take a look down both ears and see if you can see any ticks in the portion you can see. Ear infections usually have a smell and some discharge so I would also take a look for any discharge and a sniff for any foul smelling odor. You can also buy a commercial dog ear cleaner and use it to clean out his ears which may get rid of the problem.

    If he continues to shake I would take him to your vet and have s/he take a look down his ear with a scope. Also if he does have an infection that you can see or smell he will also have to go in so they can get him on the right medication.

    Hope this helps!

  3. kate Says:

    Thanks Lena! Good info! Fits with what I am thinking.

    I had a reaction — raging sore throat for 36 hours — and it passed, and I thought it was just as likely the “cure” (all the spray) as the tick bites. It made me alert to anything my dog was experiencing.

    I have a hunch it’s ticks in his ears, but I will check and watch out, and your advice gave me good info to go on.

    I appreciate it!


  4. kate Says:

    One more question, Lena!

    I had another German shepherd before this one, for 12 years, my first time with shepherds.

    He was prone to ear problems, but not big ones. The young vet saw it when I brought him for a regular visit.

    Here’s my question. If I remember right, she said I could just wash out his ears with water periodically, that that helps.

    For regular care (not infections), does that sound okay to you? I am not second guessing what I heard, but want to be sure I heard it right!

    Thanks again!


    P.S. As to the current problem, I don’t see anything and don’t smell anything in his ears! Just checked!

  5. Lena Says:

    Hi Kate,

    I prefer to use 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water for ear cleaning because it is slightly acidic and will kill mild yeast and bacteria.

    Just water can set up infection if you don’t dry it out completely:-)