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We have received numerous calls during the most recent cold snap about dogs that are chained outside or just loose in a backyard with no shelter. Terrible stories of suffering and unbelievable neglect. Here are some tips that you might suggest to someone you see who has an animal suffering this way, or that you personally might do for the animal.
Maybe you could even print out the part of this you want to convey to the owner and put it on their door or mail it to them. You may even suggest to the owner of the dog to come to our site and read these suggestions themselves.
Sometimes people just "didn't realize" how much an animal suffers in the heat or cold of their backyard pen or what torment a dog suffers from being chained. Chaining/tying is the worst form of torture to an animal that is instinctively very social and free ranging.
Cold weather means extra hardship for "backyard" dogs. Dogs can suffer from frostbite, exposure, and dehydration if their water source freezes. Chained or penned dogs often have nowhere to go to escape the cold and rain. Baytown Humane Society encourages people to keep their animals inside where they are safest and happiest.
As dogs are naturally pack animals, chained dogs become distraught and get extremely lonely and bored, craving the companionship of others. They often become destructive and sometimes aggressive just from the frustration of the chain.
Please help backyard dogs in our community, who have been sentenced to life at the end of a chain or tossed outside for good, by reminding people that dogs suffer terribly in the cold weather and offer these tips on ways to ensure that the animal(s) have an edge against the winter elements.
Bring animals inside, particularly puppies and kittens, elderly animals, small animals, and dogs with short hair, including Pointers, Beagles, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, and Dobermans.
Increase outside animals’ food rations during winter (they are burning more calories to keep warm). Also, make sure they have an adequate clean water supply.
Provide dogs with proper shelter. Doghouses should be made of wood or plastic (metal conducts cold) and positioned in a sunny, sheltered location during cold weather. Raise the house off the ground several inches. Use ample straw or cedar shavings for bedding—rugs and blankets hold the moisture and can freeze.
Make sure that the house is really weatherproof—Slit a car floor mat and hang it at the entrance on the really cold nights! This helps keep body heat inside, while a lip on the dog house floor keeps hay or cedar chips from spilling out.
Neighbors of backyard dogs, are often the animal's only hope for warmth and attention. If you know someone with a chained dog or a "backyard dog," offer to play with the dog or give it toys. This means so much to dogs who would otherwise have nothing to do except watch life pass by.
Make sure that dogs have adequate food, water, and shelter, which are required by law, and report neglect to authorities. You can do that anonymously and YOU are the only voice that animal has... don't let it down!