How to help a chained dog ...

Unchained Melodies receives many heartbreaking e-mails and phone calls about chained dogs, and a neighbor or concerned citizen would like to know what can be done. How can you help and/or rescue this dog?

Each situation is different, and at Unchained Melodies we've found that what works in one situation doesn't necessarily work in the next one.  Through rescue alone, tens of thousands have been released from the chain due to laws that volunteers and concerned citizens have worked tirelessly to pass. Efforts in Missouri have resulted in ordinances in multiple cities to include Columbia and an awareness of the plight of the chained/penned dog. In Missouri alone, hundreds of dogs have been freed and education and awareness is strong.

What you can do …

First, inquire with your city or town to see if there is an anti-chaining ordinance in your area. If there is not, learn what the State statutes are. In most states including Missouri, it is illegal for the dog to lack food, proper shelter and potable water, so even if there is not a local ordinance, demand that an Animal Control officer and/or Sheriff Departments enforce this statute.

The best way to win a better life for a chained dog near you is to befriend the caretaker. Find a reason to strike up a conversation with them and when the time is right, ask him/her to meet the dog. Bring treats (sometimes for both the dog and the caretaker) to help pave the way to a successful interaction.

Be open and friendly. Once you have an open conversation going, ask them how you can HELP them, because it allows them to see you as an ally as opposed to the enemy. This question is also an open-ended one, meaning it doesn't allow for a simple 'no' answer. This then gives you the opportunity to give them the options available to them. These may include: help with house-training or obedience training, donating a crate for house-training, help with fencing, walking the dog daily, or fostering and house-training the dog and returning him/her to the home, or even fostering and finding the dog a new home.

A deal can sometimes also be worked out where Unchained Melodies pays to vet and spay/neuter the dog in exchange for them bringing him/her into the house and chaining or penning NO other dogs outside.

Always offer services first and leave relinquishment of the dog as the last offer. Often times, the caretaker will state that they would like to re-home the dog and that’s when you reply “I can help you with that.”

Never use words like “abuse or neglect” when approaching a caretaker of a chained dog, this will put up a wall and the door will close and it will be very hard to build a rapport if this happens. Try to remain as calm as possible, and gently speak from your heart about what you feel a dog needs, and why living chained or penned does not meet these needs. If you are met with aggression or defensiveness, leave the information, and most importantly a contact phone number, and leave the property.

Never offer to “buy” a dog as this gives the wrong impression that they can make money off their dog and Unchained Melodies does not believe that dogs should become commodities. If dogs become a dollar figure, the caretakers will simply get another dog.

Stealing a dog is not an option and Unchained Melodies does NOT condone this. Again, you may feel you are helping this one dog, but the chain will soon have another poor, lonely, neglected dog at the end of it and the cycle continues.

If you're successful, you may need to foster the dog. Fostering is very rewarding but can also be challenging, so having the guidance of a rescue group or a seasoned foster parent would be helpful. Unchained Melodies is here to help and you can contact us for more helpful tips on how to help a dog you are concerned about.