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I’ve seen a chained dog, now what?

 

Are you concerned about a chained dog in someone else’s yard? There are many things you can do to improve that dog’s life without being critical of the owners or shaming them for chaining their dog. My grandmother always said you attract a lot more flies with honey than you do vinegar!

If you don't feel comfortable approaching the owners, you can always ask Unchain OK to contact them. Just provide the address. They will not use your name. If you are comfortable talking with the owners, follow these steps to a hopefully positive outcome.


There are three things to remember:

  • Be constructive, not critical

  • Be empathetic, not judgmental

  • DO NOT ASSUME

 

Bring a friend for safety reasons, but not a group. A group of people are intimidating and can overwhelm the dog's owner. It is very important to be nice, friendly, and respectful to the owner(s). Bring a bag of dog treats and some human treats like cookies or brownies. People love free stuff, too!  

Say something like: 

  • I saw your dog in the backyard. I have a big bag of dog food I don't need any more, could you use it? I'd hate for it to go to waste. By the way, I made some cookies and thought you might like some, too!

  • I noticed your dog doesn't have a doghouse. I have an extra one I'd be happy to bring over. Is that OK?

  • I noticed your dog is on a chain a lot. I'm sure he would love the chance to exercise. Could I come by a few times a week to walk your dog?

  • I have a friend who owns a fencing company, and I can probably get some fencing materials donated if you would like a fence for your dog.

  • Since winter is coming, I'm giving straw to people with outside dogs. Could you use some straw for your dog's house? (Obviously, only use this if it's winter.)

  • I have some fence materials. How about I get some friends to help us build a fence for the dog?

 

If the owner seems receptive, ask if you can go with the owner to meet the dog. Ask the dog’s name. This will give you an opportunity to get to know the dog and the owner, and to learn why the dog is on a chain. Sometimes you can help solve the problem. For instance, if the dog is chained so it won’t breed with another dog, investigate low-cost sterilization for the dog. Below are low-cost options in the Tulsa area.

 

Low Cost Spay/Neuter Services

SpayOK North Tulsa Clinic

36th Street North

Tulsa, OK
918-728-3144

 

Spay Oklahoma South Clinic
12814 S. Memorial Blvd.,
Bixby, OK
(918) 970-4222

 

Tulsa SPCA (Wednesdays only, by appointment)

2910 Mohawk Blvd.
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74110
(918) 428-7722

 

  • If the dog is chained because he's a fence-jumper, offer to put up fence extensions, an electric fence or pet-grade hotwire (check local laws regarding the use of hotwire)

  • If the dog is chained because the owners never really wanted the animal in the first place, offer to find the dog another home

  • If the owner is receptive to building a fence, use social media to gather funds/friends and have a building party.

  • IT MAY TAKE MULTIPLE VISITS to gain the owner's trust. Keep at it, and take baby steps each time you visit.

Two Main Goals

Keep these two goals in mind when talking to the owner of a chained dog:

  1. Educate the owner so that he will think of the dog in a new light; as a living creature who needs love and attention and care. Hopefully, he will learn how to treat dogs better in the future.

  2. Helping the dog a little is better than doing nothing at all. You may not be able to convince the owner to relinquish the dog or put up a fence. If all you can do is get a decent doghouse, a well-fitting collar, and some treats, that is a success and the dog’s life has been improved.


We cannot battle all the bad and cruelty in the world. To keep yourself from getting too depressed about all the animal cruelty and neglect, remind yourself it's ultimately the owner's choice to neglect his dog and responsibility to care for his dog. Rather than thinking, "I HAVE to save this poor dog", think "I will try to help this dog and educate the owner, but it makes me sad and mad that the owner chooses to treat his dog this way." This will help you keep the guilt where it belongs – on the owner, not on you! Every dog in the world isn't your responsibility, but you can feel good about helping where you can. Every little bit helps.