Archive for the ‘Chained outdoors’ Category

Good news about the miniature pinscher (like the one pictured at right) who spent all day tied to a tree in his owner’s front yard: He’s not there anymore.

Not coincidentally, I haven’t seen any sign of the coyote who kept appearing in that yard to sniff around the tree and rope. Just sheer luck kept that dog from becoming a meal.

The neighbors and I don’t know where the dog went, but we hope it’s in a better home. We also hope no other dog replaces it. We’re enjoying quiet relief from the minpin’s frequent barking and yowling, as well as peace of mind from not having to worry about his exposure to coyotes, thunderstorms, the coming winter weather and an angry owner swatting at him with a rolled-up newspaper (for barking) while he cowered at the end of his rope.


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A neighbor who owns a minature pinscher, like that pictured at right, is so lazy she’d rather risk the dog’s life instead of take him for a walk.

In the post “Chained chihuahua barks, owner snarls” (in which I mistakenly labeled a min-pin as a chihuahua), I described how this owner ties the dog each day by a short rope to a tree in her front yard and leaves him there for hours. Yesterday about 6:30 p.m., a coyote came into her front yard and for two minutes sniffed avidly around the tree and rope where the min-pin is tied before going back into the woods bordering her back yard.

Fortunately, the dog had not been out there.  A neighbor alerted the owner about the coyote. I rejoiced, believing that in the face of such clear and present danger, the owner certainly would stop tying the dog up outside, then ignoring the dog, his racket and the disturbance his barking caused her neighbors. But this afternoon, less than 24 hours after the coyote thoroughly investigated exactly where to find his prey, she tied him out there again.

Earlier this week, she came out of the house with a newspaper and hit the dog with it, even chasing it behind the tree it was tied to while yelling at it to stop barking. She correctly deduced, after a visit the next day from an Animal Control officer, that I was the person who had called them. She yelled insults at me from her front porch about the “lies” I had told.

I”m guessing she’s not bothered by the possibility of having to tell her children that a coyote ate their dog. Given how little attention any of them give the dog, it’s unlikely she or her kids would witness the gruesome event. It’s far more likely that I will, since my office window looks directly into her front yard.

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A neighbor recently acquired a chihuahua after her previous dog, a tiny terrier, disappeared. The terrier never got walked, just let out the front door to wander around the cul-de-sac until his owner would step out on her front porch and holler at him to come back. He might have been stolen, or might have been carried off by a coyote from the national park nearby.

Unfortunately for her neighbors, the owner’s method for “protecting” her new dog from these possibilities is no improvement. She simply ties him up to a tree in her front yard and leaves him there for hours.

Naturally, he yips, yowls, barks and fusses, a daily annoyance for everyone but his owner. People who chain their dogs outside seem capable of ignoring them indefinitely, no matter how much noise they make, much like parents who’ve numbed themselves to the noisy outbursts of their children. It’s no coincidence that this person’s children also are the noisiest on the block.

One day after two hours of continuous canine commotion, I walked over and asked the neighbor if she’d mind bringing the dog back inside for a while.

Her response was a verbal assault of aggressive denial, obfuscation and inaccuracies. He’s only been out 10 minutes, I put him out now instead of at midnight when people are sleeping, he’s supposed to bark at people, I’m tired of snowblowers and lawn mowers waking me up at 7  a.m. but I don’t go into other people’s yards telling them what to do and I want you to tell all the neighbors that…etc.

Yesterday, when the temperature rose to 100, he was out there for three hours. Since he has a water bowl and shade, his situation meets the almost nonexistent standards that prevail in Gary, Indiana for outdoor dogs.  I know from experience how little good it would do to call the city’s animal control department.

What we really need is an owner control department, one that would issue licenses only to people who met the same standards for pet care that good shelters and rescue organizations use, with enforcement and fines that would make it too expensive for people like my neighbor to keep behaving irresponsibly.

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You may remember Storm, the dog I wrote about in “The prisoner next door,” who was confined by himself for two years in a fenced kennel in a far corner of his owner’s back yard. Last week, someone installed a very long tie-out for him and hooked him up to it. Storm is able to run from one corner of the yard to another and plays with the owner’s other dog (who lives in the house) when she lets him into the yard. Sometimes a neighbor walks over while working in his yard and gives Storm a little petting. While not an ideal situation, the tie-out is a huge improvement in the quality of Storm’s life. He’s finally getting some attention, affection and play time with another animal. He’s barking less often. And I have been able to stop cringing everytime he does bark, knowing that he is a much happier dog than he used to be.

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 In a back yard that abuts mine, a large dog lives isolated in a small area confined by the high walls of a chain-link fence. It contains a dog house sitting on a raised wooden platform. A narrow strip of grass surrounds the platform.

 Like most prisons, this one was built in a remote area, a corner of the owner’s back yard that is as far from the house as possible. As dog prisons go, this one would be described by people inclined to use one as nice. It probably was expensive.

Naturally, the dog barks at all hours of the day and night, but nobody ever responds. Far worse is when he yips, whines and yelps, pleading for attention he doesn’t get. I’ve never seen anybody play with him, walk him or even speak to him.

The pleading tends to happen when the owner lets her other dog outside to run around in the yard. It must be especially hard on the prisoner to watch this other dog, who is allowed to run free several times a day, then return to live inside the house to enjoy the company of someone who obviously cares about him.

What possible reason could this person have for keeping an intelligent being, a social animal eager for affection, in a condition of deprivation inflicted only on the most dangerous criminals of the human community? The cruelty and waste of it are appalling.

The dog isn’t able to protect anyone, and isn’t kept for companionship. What benefit does the owner get from ignoring the lonely creature caged outside in all types of weather?

This dog’s owner spurned friendly attempts to engage or educate her about how to bring her dog indoors. But sometimes, such owners can be convinced to improve conditions for their dogs or even surrender them for adoption into a better situation. For help exploring these possibilities, check the national nonprofit, Dogs Deserve Better at www.dogsdeservebetter.com. If you can do nothing else, consider sending a little money to any nonprofit working to eliminate neglect and cruelty to pets.

Whenever this dog barks or whines, I imagine a special hell for its owner and all those like her. It consists of a small, outdoor prison, where the woman would be isolated and confined for her entire life. No company, no comfort, no appeal. And whenever she pleaded and hollered for attention, no response at all, except for the deep satisfaction felt by neighbors at the sound of justice being done.

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