Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | February 6, 2008

Pet Theft and Tethering

Untethered Teddy

Untethered Teddy

Happy Valentine’s Day Pet Column Readers! For most folks Valentine’s Day is about communicating one’s love to others. My name is Teddy and every day is Valentine’s Day to me. I love to show my love for others. But as I can’t write an entire column on how much I love thee (this was the beginning of my column that was rejected by my editor: “I love people, I love people that pet me, I love people that play with me, I love people that give me treats…”)

So during this week, dedicated to the opening of hearts, my friends at Second Chance Humane Society and I wanted to bring your attention toward pets that are not feeling loved on this day, as Valentine’s Day is also marked as National Pet Theft Awareness Day and Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week. These are both rather heart breaking topics and hard to consider on Valentine’s Day, but please take a moment to educate yourself so that you can educate others on these preventable issues.

National Pet Theft Awareness focuses upon raising public awareness of a threatening epidemic – pet theft. According to the organization Last Chance for Animals (LCA), nearly two million companion animals are stolen each year. Some are taken under false pretense through “free to a good home” ads, abducted from their yards, or taken from animal shelters. These animals are then sold to research laboratories, dog-fighting rings, or puppy mills, where they are abused and often killed.

LCA states that “Researchers prefer to experiment on pets and other animals that have lived with people because they tend to be docile, accustomed to people and easy to handle”. Check out to learn more about how you can help stop pet theft. And make sure you have proper identification on your dog and keep him or her at home.

As for the tragedy of tethered dogs, the organization Dogs Deserve Better is in the forefront of educating and activism around freeing chained dogs. They are dedicated to bringing dogs out of the backyard and into the home as a part of the family.

Besides pushing legislation to prevent long term dog tethering (meeting many successes – such as in California which has banned chaining dogs for more than 3 hours a day!) they promote education of the physical, emotional, behavioral, and psychological damage that dogs suffer by being isolated and denied regular exercise. “Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals. A dog kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months, or even years suffers immense psychological damage. An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and often aggressive” – Humane Society of the United States.

If you are concerned about a dog in your neigborhood too frequently tethered or otherwise left outside without proper shelter, food, or water, please contact your local animal control agency. Additionally you can become more educated about this issue by visiting which provides information on how you can get involved in freeing chained dogs. Also visit the Humane Society of the United States website ( and read their “Facts about Chaining or Tethering Dogs”.

In closing, I suggest you now take a moment to hug your dog, kiss your cat, pet your guinea pig, thank your parrot – Valentine’s Day is about so much more than chocolate and flowers. It is about helping those who are feeling unloved to experience love, such as by coming down to the Second Chance shelter in Ridgway to adopt more love into your life. My love will last longer than a box of chocolates and won’t make you feel fat….

Until you have loved, you cannot become yourself.” -Emily Dickinson

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Voucher Program, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other pet questions. For more information on SCHS, or to visit our shelter pets online, go to: Responses or question regarding a Pet Column can be sent to:



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