Dogs Deserve Better (DDB): Pending Legislation in Nevada, Hawaii & Texas

April 20th, 2009 9:20 pm by Kelly Garbato

Update, 5/11/09:

Sadly, Texas SB 634 – reported on below – failed. In a email from 4/28/09, DDB reports:

Everything’s Bigger in Texas…Including Disappointment

Tamira Ci Thayne journeyed to Texas to testify for Senate Bill (SB) 634, a bill in the Texas legislature to strengthen the state’s current anti-chaining law. The bill would have prohibited a person from leaving a dog alone on a chain or tether. It would also require a minimum of 150 square feet of space for a dog being kept in an outdoor enclosure. However, the bill was thrown out in committee. Approximately 15 people who wanted to continue chaining their dogs showed up to speak, stating things like: “I have champion pit bulls, who LOVE it on the end of the chain. Yes, they are happy.”

And “We don’t allow our four year old to go within the circle made by our dog’s chain, because we know what could happen (wait, isn’t that proving OUR point?)”

And “Chaining is actually a very appropriate way to keep your dog, and the safest way…”

Now, if you think this all is a load of crap, then you HAVE to start showing up for your state and local legislation efforts! Right now the opposition, who doesn’t really have a leg to stand on, is winning because we aren’t showing up.

Therefore, the state passed last session remains in force, and this line is what allows people to continue chaining despite seeming time limits:

UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT OF DOG. (a) An owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog’s movement:

Huh? Who’s to say what unreasonably limits the movements?

Texas Dogs Deserve Better Representatives are shaking off the upset and are ready to work with Texas communities using the state law, which is only a base guideline, to strengthen individual city ordinances against 24/7 chaining of backyard dogs. Tamira Ci Thayne then went to Asheville, North Carolina to testify against tethering there.

In this case, animal advocates were amazingly present due to Chain Free Asheville’s efforts, and city council has now given Chain Free Asheville and the Chief of Police 60 days to hammer out a revised ordinance. The citizen support made the difference for the chained dogs of Asheville.

Visit for more information and link to http://www.chainfreeasheville.org.

SHOWING UP MATTERS!

“Nope, there ain’t no chains on us. Nothin’ is going to hold us back from our fight against this accepted form of backyard cruelty!” You can Help

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Dogs Deserve Better (DDB) has featured three anti-chaining / breed-specific legislation (BSL) action alerts in their most recent newsletters, which I’ve excerpted below. If you live in Nevada, Hawaii or Texas, please read on and call or write your state representatives!

DDB E-News 04/16/09 Shhh…Silence Loves You:
CALL TO ACTION! Committee Passes Nevada’s Anti-Tethering Bill!

The Senate Natural Resources Committee has passed the anti-tethering bill, S.B. 132!! It’s on to the full Senate!

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW: Quickly! ACT NOW! Don’t let this bill fail!

Call or write your Nevada state senator, and urge him or her to vote YES on S.B. 132. Tell the senator that you are a constituent. If you are not sure whom your Nevada state senator is Go Here for help. If you don’t live in Nevada please urge friends and relatives in the area to take action! Remember, Senators want your vote, being a constituent holds the most power! Explain to Senators how the passing of the law would encourage your vacation and travel plans or even relocation to the Nevada area. Go Here to find Nevada state senator’s contact information. (USE the LCB phone numbers because they are all in Carson City now.) If you want to send formal letters use this mailing address for all the senators: 401 S. Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701

The bill was amended; GO HERE for a copy to download. The amended bill, S.B. 132, reflects a limit of 14 hours per day for tethering and also restricts the use of choke, chain and prong collars in tethering or chaining dogs. The amendments clarify that a tether, tie, chain or other restraint must be at least 12 feet long. Dogs tied to a stationary object must have a restraint that allows the dog to move at least 12 feet. Dogs tied on trolleys or pulleys must be able to move a total of at least 12 feet. Also, the amended version does not specify pen sizes for dogs but does state enclosures should be appropriate for the size and breed of the dog.

The bill would not apply to dogs (1) kept by veterinarians or in a boarding facility or shelter or temporarily at a campsite or as part of a rescue operation, (2) being trained for hunting or used for hunting during hunting season, (3) entered in an exhibition, show, contest or the like; (4) living on land that is directly related to an active agricultural operation if the restraint is reasonably necessary to ensure the safety of the dog; (5) whose owners are engaged in a temporary task up to one hour. “[A]gricultural operation” means “any activity necessary for the commercial growing and harvesting of crops or the raising of livestock and poultry.”

In making their decision, the Senate Natural Resources Committee heard from supporters and opponents of S.B. 132. One of the witnesses was Dr. Frank McMillian, a long practicing board certified veterinarian, clinical professor of veterinary medicine, and noted author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters as well as the textbook, Mental Health and Well-being in Animals.

Dr. McMillian told the committee, “The term ’emotional pain’ has been around a long time, but only recently has research in neuroscience shown that this is not just flowery language – that the brain circuitry of animals is wired to induce emotional feelings that hurt. In fact, the neurological systems controlling the emotions of loneliness are located in the brain right next to the circuits that give physical pain its hurtful sensation. The evidence now suggests that the feelings of loneliness evolved from the more primitive feelings of physical pain.”

“And while physical suffering gets all the attention, the fact is that emotional suffering in animals can be even more distressing than physical pain. In the lab, researchers have compared an animal’s response when forced to choose between physical and emotional pain. Consider one simple experiment that is particular relevant to the issue of dogs being left alone on a chain: Researchers separated dogs from their human companions and put an electrified metal grid between them. The dog had a choice: endure the emotional pain of loneliness, or endure the physical pain of electric shocks to rejoin their human companion. What do they choose? It isn’t even close. They overwhelmingly choose to cross the grid-being shocked the whole way. They choose to suffer the physical pain in order to spare themselves the emotional pain.”

“[T]he next time you see a dog that is living his life on a chain, …know that the suffering is there – inside – and that that dog is shackled to his own personal pain – until someone unchains him from it.”

Nevada breeders, however, have decided to oppose this bill that would eliminate cruel chaining of dogs. The Nevada Veterinary Medical Association has also announced opposition to the bill, S.B. 132.

So, don’t wait, call or write Nevada state senators now in support of this bill! Neglected and abused dogs in Nevada are counting on YOU as their ONLY HOPE!

Talking points – Why Nevada legislators should vote yes on this bill

1) CDC-Chained dogs are 5x more likely to bite children, 3x more likely to bite adults.
2) American Vet Medical Assoc.-many fatal attacks and dog bites involve animals that have been restrained.
3) Nat’l Canine Research Council-Almost 30% of all Fatal attacks are from chained or penned dogs.
4) ASPCA-81% of fatal attacks were by dogs that were isolated.
5) Cornell Univ. College of Vet Med-both chained and penned dogs suffer from similar behavior problems.
6) HSUS-Dogs kept continuously outdoors, chained or penned, will suffer from the same boredom, loneliness & isolation leading to aggressive behavior.
7) Nicholas Dodman, Ph.D. in vet med/Tufts Univ-“chaining dogs makes them more aggressive. They are natural social animals & it induces “isolation-induced aggression” & creates a “junkyard” dog effect. They basically go mad.”

Go HERE to find ATTACHMENTS of 5 sample letters to be downloaded!

(Acknowledgment and full credit for this article and information is credited to http://www.animallawcoalition.com)

Special thanks from Dogs Deserve Better extended to Laura Allen, Animal Law Coalition, Karen Goodman and Beth Coen.

DDB E-News 04/16/09 Shhh…Silence Loves You:
The Plight of Chained Dogs in Hawaii

Katie Lueders of Massachusetts spent about 3 weeks in Hawaii. Katie tells Dogs Deserve Better, in her own words, her experience, how locals avoided her requests for information, and how she is still haunted by the vision of neglected chained dogs in the middle of what she thought would be paradise.

The beaches were pristine, the local people were enthusiastic about sharing their culture, and the tour guides seemed to really enjoy sharing Hawaii’s history with visitors to the islands. There was one thing I found myself constantly questioning though, the recurring trend in the way dogs, beloved pets to many, were being kept.

Many dogs were kept chained or tied to stakes in the ground, sometimes with only an overturned barrel for shade, or shelter. There were often “beware of dogs” signs posted on properties, with barking dogs in the background, spotted between slats of fences, sometimes pacing back and forth on their short leads.

One dog in particular, a pit-bull cross of some sort, caught my attention as I walked merely minutes from my hostel, down a dead-end street. He was clearly tied to an object in the small shack he stood outside of. He made curious eye contact with me, and my guess was that he rarely sees anyone, or anything, but his owner, and the same yard he sits on the edge of, day in, and day out. The loops of chain lay in a pile on the ground. He did not bark, or make any move toward me, but merely stood silent, alert, watchful. I was overcome with sadness for this lonely dog, and visited him several times, from a distance, until I left to go home.

I always thought Hawaii would be a kind of magical place, but when I think of the beaches and the bright colorful fish, I just as soon think of all the dogs I saw, no doubt bored with little to no stimulation, exercise, or companionship. They were tied, literally, to lives of unhappiness. When I asked local tour guides and even hostel employees about all of these chained dogs, the most common response I got was a shrug, or, at it’s most frustrating, an abrupt change from the subject. There was rarely even a match for my concern. At one point, a tour guide even pointed to the pineapple fields to my right, and talked of their history on the island, as a response.

I hope there will someday be relief for the dogs I met, or wanted to meet, in Hawaii. May it no longer to be normal or acceptable to dismiss the slow wagging tail of a dog chained up in the back yard, forever yearning for a family to be with. I hope we can help families learn a new tradition to celebrate; the inclusion of dogs as part of their daily lives. May we bring these dogs a life with no chains.

Katie Lueders, Massachusetts

What Katie described is NO vacation paradise for anyone who cares about the plight of chained dogs, loves dogs, cares about animals, loves even their own dogs or just flat-out hates suffering.

Find recent updates on the Hawaii Bill SB 1188 here.

Hawaii also proposed Breed Specific Legislation, but DDB believes you can help stop this by urging them to pass a tethering bill and not the BSL. Contact Senators and tell them why you do not want to vacation in Hawaii until laws are in place to protect chained dogs.

Another example of YOU and Dogs Deserve Better making a difference in not one, but the lives of many chained dogs through legislative action.

04/20/09 – Thayne to Testify before Texas State Legislature on SENATE BILL 634:
DDB Founder to Testify at Texas Hearing before the Legislature on Anti-Chaining Senate Bill 634

Tamira Ci Thayne, DDB founder, and Texas DDB Rep Nili Asgharian will be testifying in front of the Texas State Legislature Tuesday, April 21, 2009 on this bill. Please, send to all dog lovers in Texas, and urge them to e-mail the below legislators to support this bill! This bill would not only save many, many Texas dogs, but stand as a shining beacon for other state laws to follow.

URGENT STATEWIDE ALERT – Please forward to dog lovers throughout Texas!

– from our friends at Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies.

PLEASE SUPPORT SENATE BILL 634 – HELP STOP DOG CHAINING IN TEXAS

Your help is urgently needed to help pass Senate Bill (SB) 634, a bill in the Texas legislature to strengthen our state’s current anti-chaining law! The bill would prohibit a person from leaving a dog alone on a chain or tether. It would also require a minimum of 150 square feet of space for a dog being kept in an outdoor enclosure.

URGENT! PLEASE HELP BY DOING THE FOLLOWING:

1) MONDAY: Call or email each member of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and ask them to support SB 634. Their contact information is included in the attached Word document.

2) TUESDAY: Please attend the hearing on SB 634, scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, 2009 beginning at 1:30 pm in Room E1.016 (Hearing Room) of the Capitol Extension. If possible, please also sign a card indicating your support for the bill.

You can bet that those who oppose this bill will be making their voices heard. SO LET’S STAND UP FOR TEXAS DOGS…AND FOR THE SAFETY OF TEXAS CHILDREN! PLEASE CONTACT THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND ATTEND THE HEARING IN SUPPORT OF THIS BILL!!!

Senate Criminal Justice Committee Contacts

Sen. John Whitmire (Chair) (512) 463-0115 John.Whitmire [at] senate.state.tx.us
Sen. Kel Seliger (Vice Chair and Author of SB 634 — Be sure to thank him!) (512) 463-0131 Kel.Seliger [at] senate.state.tx.us
Sen. John Carona (512) 463-0116 John.Carona [at] senate.state.tx.us
Sen. Rodney Ellis (512) 463-0113 Rodney.Ellis [at] senate.state.tx.us
Sen. Glenn Hegar (512) 463-0118 Glenn.Hegar [at] senate.state.tx.us
Sen. Juan Hinojosa (512) 463-0120 Juan.Hinojosa [at] senate.state.tx.us
Sen. Dan Patrick (512) 463-0107 Dan.Patrick [at] senate.state.tx.us

Please read the attached document for important information about dog chaining and SB 634. And thank you for your compassion!

For more information about SB 634 or this campaign, please contact:

Patt Nordyke, Executive Director
Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies
Email: pnordyke [at] austin.rr.com

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One Response to “Dogs Deserve Better (DDB): Pending Legislation in Nevada, Hawaii & Texas”

  1. peace Says:

    “I have champion pit bulls, who LOVE it on the end of the chain.”

    So someone goes to a town hall meeting and basically admits to being a dogfighter. Lovely.

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