By JONNELLE DAVIS
Danville Register & Bee
March 19, 2006
Va. - Jennifer Watts has taken a particular interest in two dogs
that live in her Schoolfield neighborhood.
appears to be a shepherd mix and is tan in color, Watts said. The
other is darker and resembles a rottweiler mix. No matter what time
of day Watts drives or walks by the home where the dogs live, one
thing never changes.
dogs are chained.
drive by them every day, two or three times a day, Watts said.
to officials with the Danville Area Humane Society, chained dogs
are the No. 1 reason they are called to intervene in animal incidents.
who adopt through the Humane Society must sign a contract that says
they will not chain their dogs. State code requires those who keep
their dogs on chains to use a chain three times the length of their
animal, from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail.
some say these requirements are not enough to cease chaining or
the cruelty and neglect that result from the practice.
Monday, members of the Humane Societys board of directors
will discuss plans to get all dogs off chains. One such plan, devised
by Humane Society Executive Director Paulette Dean and a few other
board members, would have all dogs in Danville off chains within
spoke briefly about the plan during a March 13 meeting to discuss
proposal would involve lobbying Danville City Council to adopt an
anti-chaining ordinance. Within 90 days of passing the ordinance,
all owners who keep their dogs on chains would be required to register
them free of charge.
the 90-day period, no dogs would be allowed kept on chains.
they moved or if they gave the dog away, then you would have to
make other arrangements, said board president Lynn Shelton.
You couldnt keep it on a chain.
new registrations will be allowed when the registered dogs die.
said this solution addresses the No. 1 reason people give for keeping
their dogs chained: the cost of providing a lot or fenced yard for
said the plan would not place any unnecessary burden on those who
keep their dogs on chains, but would instead allow them to plan
ahead if they wanted to purchase a new animal under the ordinance.
said Friday that the proposal was only one suggestion, and that
the board could choose to entertain other options.
first began noticing the dogs in her neighborhood last summer. She
pays close attention to them, whether she is driving past them or
walking her own dog.
is chained to a stake in the ground, Watts said, adding she has
never seen the other dog move more than about two feet from its
doghouse, she said. Most of the time, she said, the dog just rests
on top of the house.
has never seen the dogs being walked, nor has she seen anyone outside
playing with them. When she walks her own dog past them, they growl
Watts has called both the police and the humane society numerous
times about the dogs. It has been less than a month since she made
her last complaint.
understands if finances prevent the dogs owners from properly
providing for them, but does not understand why they would take
on the burden if they cannot afford it.
do you want an extra expense if its just a burden to you?
animal care, Watts said, is similar to social problems such as domestic
violence and child abuse. You must continue talking about it to
keep it from being ignored.
a court-appointed humane investigator, said chained dogs are directly
related to the animal cruelty cases he sees. The naturally social
creatures become territorial and aggressive, thus inciting violent
incidents such as the ones police and humane society staffers battled
last summer, he said.
dogs are also more likely to produce more unwanted litters of puppies,
suffer from imbedded collars or choke to death, Shelton said.
Register & Bee staff writer