Letters to the Editor

A matter of life or death

The dog in Washington Park, Illinois who was reportedly left chained under the deck of a vacant house after her owner died five years ago — and chewed off her foot to survive before finally being rescued — is another reminder why dogs should not be tethered.

Even when tethered briefly, dogs are vulnerable to weather extremes, disease, and cruel humans who shoot, stab, and poison them. They can also strangle when they hang themselves on fences and, should they break their tethers, run onto busy streets. Many tethered dogs are also denied exercise, veterinary care, and what they crave most: love and companionship.

Tethering puts the public at risk, too. Intense confinement and deprivation can cause tethered dogs to become overly territorial and aggressive: They are three times as likely to bite as dogs who are not tethered.

The Washington Park case also serves as another important reminder. Neighbors brought the dog food and hay to stay warm, but apparently didn’t call the authorities. Please, if you see any animal who’s been neglected or abused, call right away. It could be a matter of life or death.

Craig Shapiro, PETA Foundation in Norfolk, Virginia