SPCA’s ‘Chained to Pain’ campaign: Pet owners told not to chain dogs
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Cape Town - The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is shining a light on animal cruelty through its “Chained to Pain” campaign to educate pet owners on the dangers of keeping dogs on chains.
SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abrahams said not a day went by without SPCA inspectors having to educate a pet owner, issue a warning in respect of improving an animal’s welfare, or obtain a warrant to remove injured or neglected animals from their owner’s care.
The SPCA’s head veterinarian, Esté Spies, said chains cut through a dog’s skin, causing deep lacerations around the neck. If left untreated, the wounds became infected and caused suffocation.
“These animals will be in severe discomfort and suffer a painful death if we don’t reach them in time,” she said.
In addition to the physical trauma, animal behaviourist Nicole Nel said a chained dog may suffer from depression caused by the inability to move.
Animal Welfare Society of South Africa spokesperson Allan Perrins said the number of dogs kept unnecessarily on “hopelessly inadequately short and heavy-linked chains” on the Cape Flats totalled thousands. He said there was no justification for this cruel practice.
“Many properties are unfenced, and, to prevent the dog from straying, the owners keep them chained. Some owners use chaining, hobbling or tethering as a means of discipline – as a way of breaking the dog’s spirit – as a way of gaining absolute control. Some pitbull owners prefer to keep their dogs chained so that they cannot socialise with other dogs. Their perverted aim is to enhance the dog’s aggressiveness towards other animals and people,” he said.
Perrins said most chains were disproportionately heavy and detrimental to a dog’s health. He said some dogs developed curvature of the spine and a host of other debilitating issues.
Mdzananda Animal Clinic spokesperson Marcelle du Plessis said animals should have freedom of movement and be able to show normal animal behaviour such as walking, playing and running.
“We encourage people who are scared of their dogs jumping or running into the road to build a fence around their property,” she said.
Abrahams said keeping a dog chained indefinitely was a form of cruelty that was a criminal offence in terms of the Animals Protection Act, and may result in a 12-month prison term or a maximum fine of R40 000.