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The argument on tethering vs. anti-tethering ordinances

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According to a user named as “researcher” on game-dog.com, (a website dedicated to what they consider historical game-bred tendencies of American Pit Bull Terriers), “tethers don't abuse and neglect dogs, irresponsible owners do. Abuse and neglect of an animal is already a felony in Michigan. Don't waste taxpayers' money on anti-tethering laws.”

Some would argue that having a Pit Bull tethered as the main source of captivity is a form of abuse, neglect, and irresponsibility. Also, a recognized pattern amongst dogs that spend their life on a chain is that they are not cared for as well as indoor companions, are not properly housed, fed, vaccinated, or protected as indoor companions are, and are at a much higher exposure risk for acquiring diseases, including Rabies. Another known fact about Pit Bull behavior is that based on their companion- bred personalities; they thrive with routine and family, yet grow anxious and often aggressive given only the same small area to move about in, daily.

“Researcher” also brings up a study conducted in 2001 by Cornell University which states that “there was no indication that tethering was more detrimental to the dogs' welfare than housing in a pen." Yeon, Golden, et al (2001). Not mentioned, was the fact that the study was also conducted on Alaskan Sled Dogs, not American Pit Bull Terriers, or even a breed remotely related to the American Pit Bull Terrier.

On the other side of the fence, animal professionals and owners of indoor companion animals feel differently than many of the so-called game dog owners. Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS who is an Animal Behaviorist has this to say in regards to the effects of tethering companion animals as a way of life:

“Dogs should not be tethered unsupervised in situations where they will practice barking and lunging at people, dogs or other animals. When the objects, animals or people react by leaving while the dog is barking it serves to reinforce this aroused behavior. Furthermore the behaviors of barking and lunging are self-reinforcing in that they increase the dog's arousal state. Since arousal and aggression are on a continuum, by allowing dogs to be in situations where impulsive behaviors such as barking and lunging are likely to occur, owners who tether such dogs may in essence be training their dogs to be aggressive”.

To tether or not to tether; is there a question?

For more information on tethering, email dogexaminer@yahoo.com.

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